The Show Must Go On: Tracy High’s Fall Play


Halle Patzer, Co-Editor in Chief

Tracy High’s first production of the school year, Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost, occurred on November 21. With Covid-19 regulations making it impossible for them to perform together in front of a live audience, the Tracy High drama department has moved to a different medium this year for their productions; livestream video.


Instead of a live audience, actors were now tasked with acting to a camera, which recorded each scene separately, also making it easier for the students to social distance.


Junior Sydney Christensen, the Stage Manager of the show, said, “We green-screened the whole thing. If we needed to put characters together, we’d just chop it, and edit them next to each other with a green screen background.”


In other words, the production of the fall play was similar to the production of a movie.


“The show was pre-recorded and later edited. We spent the entire week before the show just editing all of the clips. It took more than 15 hours for us all to complete the editing process. After editing it, we sent it to the streaming company and they were able to stream it for us,” said Christensen.


The process was long, harrowing, and completely new even to the more experienced theatre kids. Despite their inexperience in editing, the cast and crew were able to work together anyway to bring all of the scenes, backgrounds, and characters together.


“Since we’re not seasoned editors it looked kind of off, but I just told everyone that it was a homemade show,” Christensen joked, “It turned out good though, it was obviously our first time working on something like this, so I’m just glad that it turned out fine.”


Unfortunately, their hard work took a rough turn when technical difficulties began to occur, resulting in the cancellation of the show on November 20. 


“There was a miscommunication with the streaming company. They thought the shows were going to be on Saturday and Sunday, not Friday and Saturday, so they didn’t end up streaming it on Friday, November 20,” remarked Christensen, “There were also problems with sound as well, we had difficulties getting the audio of the show to work for the audience.”


Despite these technical difficulties, broadcasting through livestream had a lot of upsides as well.


“We had a great turnout for streaming because a lot of families from out of state were able to see the show and it was overall easily accessible to the public. We had a better turnout than we usually do for live plays, so that was definitely a bonus,” said Christensen.


To avoid potential exposure risks, the cast and crew of The Canterville Ghost went to extensive lengths to ensure their safety.

“Rehearsals were carried out over Zoom, and we only brought people in person when we started filming. We made sure to maintain proper social distance guidelines while filming, and we made sure it was a safe and comfortable environment for everyone,” said Christensen.


They managed to film every scene separately, making it so each actor didn’t get within 6 feet of each other. The power of editing and green screen technology allowed them to edit the actors right next to each other, as if it were filmed that way.


“It was fun, but it was kind of difficult. I’m glad of the outcome though because it was frustrating dealing with all of the technical difficulties with the streaming company, but it turned out good,” said Christensen.

Isabel Reyes (left) and Mason Anderson (right) edited in front of a green screen


The Canterville Ghost, starring Seniors Mason Anderson as the Canterville Ghost and Isabel Reyes as the Heroine Virginia, tells the story of an American family that moves to England. The daughter Virginia figures out that their new house is haunted, and despite no one else believing her, she attempts to find a way to help the cursed ghost reunite with his wife in the afterlife.


“We thought the play was really funny and heartwarming. We didn’t want to do something too serious like we had done in past years. We wanted a fun show that lightened the audiences’ moods in hard times like these,”               Christensen enthused.


After the good turnout and overall success of The Canterville Ghost, the theatre department plans to do a spring play. They hope to potentially perform it in front of a live audience, but due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, that may not be the case. No matter what the spread of Covid-19 will look like in upcoming months, live streaming has proved to be a viable option for them.


This year’s spring play will be the musical South Pacific, which is set during WW2. The play centers  around an American wartime nurse, and includes themes of racial prejudice, discrimination, and sexism during a violent and devastating period in world history.

Stage Managers Sydney Christensen (left) and Sierra Lloyd (right)

“We are doing the audition process for the spring play in early January. Unfortunately, only students in the Advanced Drama and Tech class can audition because it’s more manageable and easy,” adds Christensen, who shows excitement about the upcoming musical.

Upon reflecting on the abnormal effects the pandemic has had on the school theatre program, Christensen overall shows gratitude that she gets to still participate in school plays.

“We were all very grateful to put on a show too because we were the only school in the district to put on a on a show this season,” Christensen muses, “This year especially, we’re all very driven and want the same thing, which I really like because there’s a lot less drama during shows compared to previous years.” 

It appears that the Tracy High theatre program has not given up in times of uncertainty and restrictions. Truly dedicated and passionate about theatre, they proceeded to adapt and work with the restrictions put on them due to the pandemic to continue doing what they love.

With impending exposure to the virus, and schools all over the district cancelling their shows, Christensen concludes, “I’m glad everyone got to have their fall play.”