BWW Blog: Getting Back on the Stage

We performed at an outdoor venue in northern Kentucky, and we had lights and microphones and costumes pulled from our closets!

By: Nov. 09, 2020
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About a week ago, I concluded my first performance since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The last performance that I did prior to the chaos was The Secret Garden at CCM directed by Connor Gallagher (Beetlejuice). That was just a week before the big shutdown. I remember auditioning for that project and feeling so lucky to be cast. While waiting for the cast list, I recall saying, "I don't care if I'm just a tree in the background-I want to be a part of this show." Well, needless to say, I was fortunate to be cast as a human in the production. Throughout the process, I had heard whispers about "coronavirus" and I, myself, was guilty of severely underestimating it at the time-little did I know how wrong I would be. During our performances, we began to hear rumors of the impending shutdown, and I was so angry. I suppose that I thought, "This isn't something that actually happens. This can't possibly be as big a deal as it is being made out to be. The world will not stop turning." But then it did.

A group of people in a dark roomDescription automatically generated
Zoe Mezoff (CCM MT'23), Delaney Guyer (CCM MT'20),
Britta Cowan (CCM MT'22), and the ensemble of
CCM's spring 2020 production of The Secret Garden.

Fast forward to almost eight months later, and I have finally gotten to take another bow. I wrote about the project previously, but it was an independent study directed by my classmate Sammy Schechter and produced by my other classmate Jake Waford. While I still hesitate to title the project, I can say that I got to play a rather iconic princess with very, very long hair. We performed at an outdoor venue in northern Kentucky, and we had lights and microphones and costumes pulled from our closets! So, on two chilly nights in late October, me and 16 other classmates of mine performed for a distanced and bundled-up audience, all while masked and distanced ourselves, of course. And what a thrill it was!

A person walking down a dirt roadDescription automatically generated
Cassie Maurer (CCM MT'22) twirling around
in our beautiful "backstage" area. ;)

It felt so special to assume a character and tell stories again. As tough as the quarantine period was to be without theatre and live performance, doing it again just reminded me why I chose this. To have something in your life that is so fulfilling that you love so much, that in and of itself is a gift. I hope that I never take it for granted again. In fact, I did find myself taking it for granted in certain moments last weekend-like when I tripped over my dress that was too long or when my mic pack fell out of its place mid-song. I found myself getting so frustrated over little moments like those, which really wouldn't have bothered me in other productions. This is certainly not the first time that things like that have happened to me during live performance. While I wish that I had been more present, I think why I dwelled on those hiccups was because I so badly wanted my performances to be perfect. I know, I know: perfection is unattainable. But the thought of potentially not doing this again for another eight months or longer made those performances all the more important to me. I wanted perfection so that I could remember my perfect reunion with what I love. But it was a rough reunion with lots of obstacles like long dresses, no tech rehearsal, masks, and a global pandemic. My friend and classmate Tori Heinlein put it best when she said the weekend was like "getting back on the bike," and to that I add "getting back on the bike" while blindfolded. We had no idea how these performances would go, and for me, though they weren't perfect, they were certainly unforgettable. I'll never forget doing a show outside during a pandemic with a mask on in the less than 40-degree weather with some of my closest friends, and for that, I am so thankful.