Godspell and Freshman Ensemble Rehearse in Person


Elaine Kloser

Students Rehearse Godspell on Campus. Photo Curtsey of Ms. Kloser

This October the cast of Godspell and the Freshman Ensemble has been lucky enough to rehearse in person on campus. The plays were originally imagined to be completely virtual. Meetings surrounding the plays, auditions, and even the first couple of rehearsals were virtual. However, after discussing with the administration, the drama program has recently been granted access to rehearse in person. Drama teacher Elaine Kloser explained how the drama program is able to meet.

“Small cohorts of the cast of Godspell and the Freshman Ensemble are able to hold rehearsal at school now a few times a week,” Ms. Kloser said. “t’s been nice to have such lovely fall weather lately because the groups can meet outside, and the administration has put up some tents in the Hayes Plaza, so even when the weather changes, we will still be able to meet outside!”

Cohorts of students vary from around eight-to-nine kids on campus at a time. Performers, as well as tech theatre students gather together to rehearse and work  on technical elements. Although the numbers are small, the drama program enforces strict rules regarding masks and social distancing.

“I overall think rehearsals have been going great,” Senior Mackenzie Jaimes said.  “They are pretty much the same as last year except for our warmup games and the fact that we need to sing in masks at all times.”

Rehearsing during COVID-19 is drastically different than rehearsing during the normal school year.

“It’s definitely been so much different from past years,” Jaimes said. “In our warmup games we cannot touch at all so games like tag, which are super fun, are out. It’s also really hard to see where we need to be placed on the stage.  Being so far from each other is definitely a challenge.”

Mackenzie is lucky enough to have her ensemble to perform in person. The other ensembles will also be performing, but in a mix of pre-recorded videos and virtual appearances. The hope is that soon all ensembles will be able to perform on stage together, but for now, it’s amazing that they can even meet in person during these challenging times.

While Godspell is a very important play, it is not the only one being performed this year. The Freshman Ensemble is also rehearsing for a digital performance.

“The freshmen ensemble has created a safe place where I’m free to express myself through acting,” freshman Isabel Diab said. “Each rehearsal has taught me so much about drama, and I’ve been able to form some amazing relationships through this experience”.

During the pandemic, it has been hard to make new connections with other students, especially for the freshman who have not met most of their classmates. In a time where it is very difficult for groups to congregate together, it is amazing that drama students have the opportunity to rehearse in person and create new relationships.

“Come November, we will be sure to share with the Jesuit Community the way in which we will be presenting Godspell,” Ms. Kloser said.  “If none of the metrics for the State of Oregon change between now and then, at least we know that Jesuit students will be able to watch Godspell in recorded format.  We think that whatever way our audience is able to view it that they will find much relevance to the world around them in the songs and parables!  Our goal is to keep Art and Hope alive during this uncertain time!”