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The show must go online: Colony Middle School to perform plays virtually

Because of the pandemic, actors are performing from their homes on Zoom.
Middle school students in the Mat-Su Valley perform a dress rehearsal via Zoom.
Middle school students in the Mat-Su Valley perform a dress rehearsal via Zoom.(Heather Hintze)
Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 3:21 PM AKST
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Teachers in the Mat-Su Valley are working to keep school as normal as possible during the pandemic as students switch between in-person and at-home learning.

For the Colony Middle School drama teacher, that meant finding a way for student actors to keep performing with schools closed and classmates in quarantine.

“When I found out last week I could not have this group come together because of the mitigation requirements, your heart just kind of sinks and I immediately turn around and say what can we do, what options do I have left?” said Music and Drama Teacher Tobias Lambert.

The show must go on, so now it’s online.

Colony Middle School has two productions: a longer performance called “Almost History: That Whole Space Time Continuum Thing” and a shorter play called “Why Cupid Came to Earl’s Court.”

The cast not only includes Colony Middle School students but kids from neighboring schools as well.

Instead of taking center stage, the students use Zoom. They said it’s challenging to transform their living rooms and bedrooms into an acting space and there are some issues with digital production.

“The hardest part so far is just getting my computer to work and let me on to Zoom,” said Reilly Mullenix, an 8th grader at Teeland Middle School.

“You have distractions like animals or whatever in the background,” said Colony High sophomore Zachary Janneck.

Still, they’re happy their families outside of Alaska will finally get a chance to see them perform.

“At least we get to do this. It’s this or nothing so I think it’s nice to get some theater stuff,” said Mat-Su Central freshman Devina Blawat.

The plays are a fundraiser to help pay for the students' trip to Broadway next year, pandemic permitting.

The recorded performances will be streamed on Friday, Nov. 13 and Saturday, Nov. 14. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased online.

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