School Plays Continue Despite COVID

The Greasers are the tough kids who fall into trouble a lot in “The Outsiders.” (Photo courtesy Southern Regional)

  MANAHAWKIN – The Southern Regional High School Performing Arts Department successfully performed their fall play “The Outsiders” despite the multiple obstacles COVID-19 presented.

  The play took place on October 21 through 23 and allowed a limited number of tickets sold to only cast member’s families due to COVID-19. Although seating was limited, the production was also live streamed and available for anyone to watch on the school’s YouTube channel.

  “The production ‘The Outsiders’ is a play based on the novel by S.E. Hinton, seen through the eyes of Ponyboy, a Greaser on the wrong side of life who is caught up in territorial battles between the have-it-made rich kids, ‘The Socs,’ and his tough, underprivileged family and friends,” Fall Musical Director and English Teacher Elizabeth Weidenhof summarized. “As these young people try to find themselves and each other, the sadness of sophistication begins to reach them, and change them.”

  The Greasers consist of Ponyboy Curtis played by John Mastandrea, Johnny Cade played by Stanley Cutts, Dallas played by Nicholas Somodi, Two-Bit played by Frankie Petillo, Darrel Curtis played by Jack Wyrsch, Soda-Pop Curtis played by Mitch Critelli and Sandy played by Savanna Stankowski.

  Their rivals The Socs includes Bob played by Joshua Pires, Randy played by Jacob Mastroly, Cherry Valance played by Julia Joannides and Marcia played by Teresa Zambrano.

  The department led virtual auditions for the musical back in May. With COVID-19 leaving students and teachers uncertain about the upcoming school year, Weidenhof stated how they didn’t finalize that cast list until mid June and rehearsals started in August.

The cast and crew put on the show using the best safety parameters. (Photo courtesy Southern Regional)

  One huge challenge that the theater company faced was face masks. The school district has to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines and wear face coverings inside the building. The performing arts department had to come up with a way to see the cast member’s faces while doing so in a safe manner.

  “Facial expressions are crucial when it comes to acting. If the audience can not see the actor’s face we would lose a large amount of the actor’s emotion,” Weidenhof said. “My supervisor Dr. Richard Falletta and myself were able to brainstorm and have the students wear clear masks. We bought a variety of masks and were able to settle on one that we thought would get the job done. Students only wore these masks for rehearsals and the performances and the clear masks worked great for us.”

  If you missed out on this year’s fall musical and want to see the students in action with their clear masks, you can view the play entirely by visiting the Southern News Network’s YouTube Channel.