Kentucky students involved in the performing arts have been forced into a long and unwelcome intermission during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But theater students at Apollo High School in Daviess County are back on stage in a virtual play being presented this weekend called Everything Seems Like Maybe. It’s about – what else? – teenagers dealing with the pandemic.
One of those teens offering perspective on living a year alongside the pandemic is Meg Zuberer, a senior at Apollo High.
"The reason I chose this monologue is because I felt like out of them all, it fit me the most," said Zuberer. "During these terrible times, these days of people risking their lives to save others, I find myself questioning the normal. Like why? You know, it’s all made me wonder, 'What do I really want to be doing?' I think the main theme of everything going on right now, I mean when you really boil it down, I think it’s love’.”
The coronavirus shut down Apollo High School one year ago in March, just before opening night of the spring musical. Theater Director April Berry said this new show, which premiered virtually March 13 and 14 and streams again this comning weekend, gives 14 young actors a chance to present a public performance, in a different way.
"We were able to partner with Theatre Workshop of Owensboro in order to put on the virtual show, Everything Seems Like Maybe," said Berry. "It was just a great opportunity because the kids got to rehearse the show completely virtually."
Jacob Hein is a music teacher for Owensboro Catholic Schools and a board member of Theatre Workshop of Owensboro. He created the music, and did the audio and video production for the show.
"One of the key beliefs we have at Theatre Workshop of Owensboro is that there is a part for everyone. And so during this pandemic when all the performance opportunities in front of a live audience were taken away from our students, and our adult performers as well, we knew that there was something we had to do in order to continue to allow these students, and our performers, to find a way express themselves and share their gifts and talents."
And it’s not just Apollo High School students who are getting to share those talents.
Everything Seems Like Maybe was created especially for a video-conferencing platform and is being performed by students at 40 schools in more than 20 states across the country.
Hein said his goal as producer was to capture the power of the student monologues.
"And it was even more poignant, the fact that the words they were sharing were written by students across the nation. I can guarantee that the students performing these works either felt those themselves or knew people who have been affected the same way," said Hein. "And you can tell that in their performances. You can tell that in the interactions we had as we were recording this, this was beyond just playing a part. This was truly personal."
Some of the students chose monologues that reveal the small ways that add up to bigchanges in daily life. One of those is Maddie Chance, a senior at Apollo High.
"I chose this monologue because my days in early quarantine really did start to repeat themselves. I really didn’t know what day it was," said Chance. "My mom makes me take elderberry vitamins now. And it just really related to me and I was like, ‘I can do that monologue really good.’ So, 'The days have started to repeat themselves. I can’t remember if it’s Wednesday or Thursday. Did I take the elderberry Mom left for me? Did I take the blackseed oil? I don’t know the date. Everything’s a blur'.”
That blur is beginning to clear away as teachers across Kentucky are vaccinated, COVID-19 cases are declining and many schools are bringing students back to in-person classes.
Students in the cast of the virtual show are Haley Boyd, Maddie Chance, Abby Dean, Leah Evans, Allie Hargitt, Tori Lewis,Carina Logsdon, Emily Carrillo Lopez, Braxton Powers, Gabrielle Ramburger, Autumn Reed, Liberty Roebuck, Madison Westerfield and Meg Zuberer.
Virtual performances of Everything Seems Like Maybe, featuring students from Apollo High School, will stream online Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.. Tickets are available online from Theatre Workshop of Owensboro.