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  • Jessica Ford

One Act’s Creative Response to Coronavirus

In the past, during the fall semester, Athens Academy has competed alongside other highschools in the glorious Georgia Highschool Association (GHSA) One-Act Theatre Competition. We, as a company, work hard and long for several months—starting from the first day of school in August until late October—to prepare our piece for performance.

Last year, we entered the competition with “Peter and the Starcatcher,” earning third place in the region. The year before, we entered with “Arlecchino in the City of Love” and won second place in both the region and state.

The One-Act Play Competition is one of the most incredible drama opportunities offered during the year at Athens Academy, and while it is a disappointing fact that we will not be competing this year, it is not the end of the fall play!

Even though we do not have the opportunity to have a live performance of the play, not to fear, there will be a showing via film. In fact, this new way of creating theatre has actually opened up opportunities for even more kids to join. Because the option of rehearsing and performing via Zoom is more flexible, we have the ability to accept kids who would usually be doing sports or kids who are learning online. We are currently in the process of filming individual scenes after school so that we can present our piece in movie format. To maintain social distancing to the best of our ability, all scenes contain only one to three actors.

Braden Fass and Jack Nasworthy perform filmed scene for One-Act. Photo by Lorraine Thompson.

The play itself is an unpublished piece written by an Athens Academy alumna, Kendall Sherwood, who is currently a writer and producer for the television program “Hawaii Five-0.” The play is titled “This Side Up.” It is a work about the “boxes” that we put ourselves in and the boxes that society puts us in, such as our familial expectations, our religious ones, or our gender roles. It is all about the limitations that have been placed upon us that we cannot break free from. This play is, as our director Ms. Thompson says, “(extremely) timely. Because in the age of pandemic, we are all in a box. We are in our home or on Zoom.”

This piece is especially poignant for this new era because we as a company have the chance to make an authentic and interesting project, even with the limitations the pandemic has placed on us.

We are taking the pandemic of today and the theme of “being in the box,” and we are legitimately going to make a statement with our project.