2020-21: We Got Plans!
So ... seriously WHAT IS UP WITH THE WORLD.
This year will have to be really different from other years. I know you guys probably have a ton of questions. I'll tell you what I know and think, and then I'd like to put some things up for discussion. This is not my troupe, this is our troupe, and we'll figure stuff out together.
The first day of school has currently been pushed back to Mon. August 24, 2020.
Some school counties in Florida are going "all virtual" for at least the 1st Quarter of school. Will that happen in Pasco? That's up to our Superintendent and School Board.
I have requested to teach via MySchoolOnline for as many sections as possible.
Based on our current enrollment numbers (your parents' choices) I have been scheduled with ONE section of virtual class of "combined Acting 1, 2 & 3" during 1st period on MySchoolOnline and FOUR sections of Traditional (or 'face-to-face') classes.
Yes, that DOES mean if you signed up for MySchoolOnline, I'll be your first happy, shining face of the day! Yeah, I'm pretty psyched too.
I don't know what the academic or time requirements will be for MySchoolOnline.
I do know MySchoolOnline students will be expected to sign on for classes every day, but I don't know how a 'virtual period' will be structured or scheduled. We're supposed to get training on that soon.
I will be getting training this summer on advanced Canvas and virtual teaching techniques. My hope is that in addition to individual Acting work, you and a partner will be able to work on a shared scene together through Facetime, Zoom, etc.
FL Virtual School
If you chose FL Virtual school, it's my understanding that you're essentially going to a different school; you are not attending Wesley Chapel High School, so I will not be your classroom or online teacher.
You ARE still part of our troupe, though, and invited to do all of the after-school stuff a regularly attending student will.
Traditional Classes & Safety Guidelines
You will have to wear masks. I will have to wear masks. All period, and during passing.
We aren't going to be able to work on facial expression, so get ready to work on body language.
To meet safety guidelines, I will have to spread my seats out as much as possible. This means that the room is going to look like we have standardized testing every day. Yeah, I know. Gross.
I will not be putting out shared supplies like paper and pencils, or offering props.
This also means that I can not supply a bucket for you to put your binder in. I'll figure out what to do about 'binder checks' because I'm basically not supposed to touch anything you've touched for a certain number of days to let potential viruses die off. Does that sound crazy and physically impossible to you? Yeah, same.
I do not know how partner-work will work because Acting is about getting up and MOVING and working together. I have asked questions about what pandemic-era acting scenes will look like, and I have not yet received an answer.
We can not entirely eliminate the risk of COVID transmission. We have to acknowledge that. But we WILL work together to reduce the risk by adding as many layers of 'mitigation' as we can - to get that % risk down as low as possible.
I think it is irresponsible of me to host a Comedy Show this year.
Transmission research shows that when you get a bunch of people (like an audience) from different areas together, and they all share the same oxygen, you create the potential to become a "super spreader" event that ends up infecting a lot of people.
Could we film the show? Sure. But I'd like you to imagine what backstage will look like. Even without makeup. Can you see that being socially distanced? If you can, do you imagine that experience would be fun or frustrating?
Also, the thrill of the Comedy Show for performers is THE LIVE AUDIENCE experience. Also also, I think I have a better idea.
My Better Idea
I would like to flip the Film Festival from Semester 2 to Semester 1.
I would like to open up this year to solo-entries.
Entries this year could use extras from anyone in your household. This means you could enter as a MySchoolOnline student, or as a Traditional Class student without exposing yourself to heightened risk.
With parent permission, you could work with other students IF you wanted to.
You could get help editing, or do a very basic job of editing yourself.
You could have as many extras as like as long as you (the Acting student) had the biggest role.
We would host the Film Festival as a live Top 10 countdown, just like we did in May.
Virtual Thespians - Districts & State
Districts is gonna be virtual this year.
So will States.
All events will be pre-recorded - so you won't have to face the stress of technology failing AND you can reshoot your event as many times as you like until you "get it right."
Pre-recording also means you can submit events to me for feedback ahead of time so we can still do workshops.
On the "day of Districts" you'll be able to drop into different "virtual rooms" to watch different events as you like. I very much hope we'll be able to do "watch party groups" so we can talk about different performances, what we liked, etc.
The food trucks this year will be your own refrigerator.
There are more logistical-type things they're working out. This is all brand new.
I am GENUINELY EXCITED about Districts this year. I think it's an exciting year to be a Thespian, and you are going to have a unique experience that no other Thespian has had before.
Before-School Hangout Time & After-School Meetings/Rehearsals
I will not be hosting the informal 'morning hangout time' that I have loved doing for so many years for Semester 1.
I will not hold any after-school meetings or rehearsals for Semester 1 either.
I love you all, I want to see you, but I have an ethical responsibility to eliminate as many face-to-face meetings as possible.
Freshman Orientation 2020
If there is a 9th Grade Orientation this year, I do not plan to volunteer the Thespians for it.
I will also not be hosting a "Set Up the Drama Room" get-together either. I'll do that on my own.
Elections for Exec Council
A good number of you are already planning on NOT returning to Traditional School, which means the best method of election is going to be online.
Since all of our meetings will be held electronically, I do not personally care if you are MySchoolOnline, FL Virtual School, or Traditional class. I think you can still make the exact same impact as an Exec Council leader.
I will work on the systems we need to make that happen.
I *could* use Remind for easy voting, but I would need 100% of Thespians on Remind for that to work. I'm currently two short.
When the school year starts, I will send out invitations to the TWENTY-TWO students who have already earned their 10th Thespian point.
I'll find MySchoolStudents through some clever electronic way like maybe Canvas.
As always, I will pay the $30 membership for new Thespians who are going through tough financial times. I expect there will be more than usual this time.
The world is in "disaster mode" right now.
I don't plan on a 2020-21 Fundraising Drive, or spending much money this year.
So. During this time of pandemic, I've been socially starved.
To cope with this, some teachers and I have been playing our own teacher-made Trivia Nights over Zoom every week for nonsensical prizes that don't really mean anything.
We usually play our Trivia Nights with partners, and frantically text each other back and forth before we submit answers. It has been crazy and fun.
I'd like to know ... since we can't actually GO anywhere and hang out, would you guys be interested in trying our own Thespian Trivia Night? I could host and have topics like general knowledge, movie trivia, TV shows, name-that-songs, Troupe 6172 history, etc.
What will Semester 2 look like? I have NO IDEA.
I never would have guessed back in March when we left for Spring Break that that would be the last time I'd see the c/o 2020 in real life.
For any of you out there who are panicking, there are literally THOUSANDS of really smart scientists WORLDWIDE developing treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. Right now there are five major vaccines in large human trials. While I don't know how long this will last, this WILL NOT LAST FOREVER.
When we get a handle on this disease, Troupe 6172 will cautiously resume the business of live theater.
What are your thoughts?
What are your questions?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or just answer that last Remind you got from me.
Do it! Now! Ahhhh! (I am using a loud sound here to spark you into replying right now before you forget.)
I will be using Remind to put out votes and polls in the near future.
I MISS YOUR FACES.
I hope our community and our state and our country and our world get their acts together soon so we can all see each other again soon!
Write me back!