Actors perform ‘Descendants’ with a double cast

In order to safely perform “Descendants” on April 16-18, staff and students implemented new safety precautions due to COVID-19. One major change was a rotating cast.


**Taking the stage by storm…***Showing off their dance moves, senior Charlton Allen and junior Connor Magee perform in \”Descendants\” during rehearsal on April 13. Both students performed in the red cast.* *Arrowhead photo by Madison Stine*

Limiting attendance, performing with two different casts, wearing masks at all times and consistently disinfecting allowed students to perform on April 16-18 in this year’s spring musical, “Descendants”.
One major alteration made this year was the addition of double casting.
On the Friday production, the first cast, or red cast, performed. From there, the cast alternated between the red and white cast for the additional three shows.
According to junior Danielle Michael, this was implemented in case any student was quarantined.
“We perform all of the nights, but we switch out of lead roles into the ensemble according to assigned days,” Michael said. “The purpose of the two casts was so that if any of us got quarantined, the person’s counterpart on the other cast would be able to fill in seamlessly.”
The addition of the doubled casting also changed the dynamic. According to freshman Anya Hradnansky, this change increased inclusion.
“Last year, the musical didn’t happen at all,” Hradnansky said. “So, this year, we have more opportunities.”
However, this change also challenged the performers. According to senior Gabe Thompson, unlike past musicals, performers had to be more aware due to the rotating cast.
“When the other cast is performing,’ Thompson said, “we just play as regular ensemble members.”
Despite the challenges, cast members were able to maintain a “supportive environment,” according to Michael.
“With two casts we were apprehensive that we would clash heads and create a very toxic environment,” Michael said, “but, we beat the odds and we all gelled together and I think that says a lot about us as a group of people.”
Efforts to increase safety also included wearing masks while performing and practicing. This meant performing while wearing mouth-guard like devices.
“Singing with a mask was difficult because you need a lot of air to sing and especially belt your voice,” Michael said. “We used a mouthguard-like aperture that kept the cloth of the mask from sticking to our mouths when we drew in air.”
Another change was reducing the magnitude of attendance. This included closing off every other row in the high school’s auditorium and changing the method of obtaining tickets. All tickets had to be purchased through a cast member.
Behind the scenes, the stage crew also abided by the same safety guidelines. According to sophomore Cali Benner, the stage crew was still responsible for their role, just with extra precautions.
“We are conscious about social distancing and being safe,” Benner said. “Everyone wears a mask at all times.”
Souderton musicals performed in the past, such as “The Phantom of the Opera”, inspired current cast members to join musical theater.
“I have always been very involved in choir and band, so seeing the older kids do the middle school and high school musicals was very inspiring,” Thomspon said.
“I remember specifically when the high school put on “The Phantom of the Opera,” thinking how amazing that was.”
Souderton students performed “The Phantom of Opera” in 2015.