Every year the Hannon Theatre Company produces and performs a November play in the Hannon Theatre. However, due to COVID-19, Hannon Theater will be changing how people enjoy its annual performance.
Instead of performing for a live audience, the cast and crew will be uploading the play to YouTube in parts, allowing for the safety of the cast, the crew and the audience. This year’s play, The Government Inspector, will be released in six webisodes along with a trailer, beginning in November.
Walter Wolfe, managing artistic director of the Hannon Theatre Company and performing arts teacher, said, “It’s a completely different experience. I am not trained as a movie director or in a median like this, so it’s also a whole new learning experience. It’s exciting and frustrating at the same time.”
The Hannon Theatre Company will have to figure out how to give its best performance for the audience, as it has always done in normal times. The actors and set designers will have to adapt to the virtual environment, overcoming brand new obstacles.
Wolfe adds, “It’s a lot more work in a different way. I have to do research on how to do all the online editing. We will all have to learn new things in order to succeed.”
The Hannon Theatre Company will also have to fight off the normal struggles that many Loyola students have been experiencing in the virtual school environment pertaining to internet connectivity and general tech issues that sabotage rehearsals and ability to practice.
Senior Benjamin Staudt stated that, “Technology has been a little bit of a challenge because different people in the cast have varying wifi speeds, so the people with poor internet connection at times experience lag during rehearsals.”
Wolfe noted, “It’s been an interesting experience and it’s going well, but my indicators of a good rehearsal have had to change. I think things are on the right track, but I have no real evidence. Sometimes cast members will have internet problems or other issues like that.”
In terms of any other options for the fall play, YouTube releases appears to be the Hannon Theatre Company’s best bet for the time being, with not many other options available.
According to Wolfe, despite the unusual circumstances, everyone involved will still be able to learn something new, and the online situation will bring different challenges for everyone to overcome and learn from in order to improve.
Walter states that, “There isn’t one thing I expect to learn, there are hundreds. This virtual environment will be a new challenge for all of us.”
Junior Jared Aimone, another proud cast member, explained that Hannon is taking on the challenges: “A lot of the success has been from the enthusiasm of the cast, as we all know from distance learning, enthusiasm is one of the things that we lose when we go online.”
The cast of The Hannon Theatre stays determined to produce an entertaining play for the audience, despite the setbacks and challenges.
Staudt adds that, “The morale of this cast has still been good, and no one has dropped out of show to my knowledge. Although we do have a smaller group because of the virtual setting, we have still made good use of our time together.”
Aimone concludes, “Keeping the energy has been such a key factor in our overcoming of the technological barriers and to our overall success”
For updates you can go to www.hannontheatre.com.