The final bow

A Q&A showcasing the seniors of Red Devil Dramatics and their thoughts of their final show


Riley Ruiz, Student Life Editor

The pandemic has made a substantial impact on schools and extracurriculars, but one of the most significant disruptions was to the performing arts. Students and parents alike look forward to seeing their friends and family performing and showcasing their talents on the PAC stage, however, this year was different. Red Devil Dramatics performed the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” outside while following COVID-19 procedures. Seniors Alanna Burden, Brendan Collins, Megan Riley and Ericka Soles expressed how lucky they were to have one final show in the following interview.

Transcripts have been edited and condensed for publishing purposes.


The Holly Spirit: As this was your last show, and it was probably not what you had imagined, did you enjoy it? Why or Why not?

Alanna Burden: It was not quite what we had imagined. It was definitely a learning experience for all of us to learn how to adapt and be motivated in an environment where no other schools are doing theatre. I think it was a really inspiring experience to be a part of something like that.

Brendan Collins: Any show has its pros and cons. The minute anyone hears a show is going down and plans on auditioning, it never is what they truly imagine it to be. This does not fit the normal criteria of a normal seniors show, but I do not mean that in a negative way. We were able to focus more on ourselves.

Megan Riley: We were lucky to get a show, because a lot of schools in the district did not have a show. I know there are multiple schools that did a virtual show. Even just being able to go outside and do something makes us very grateful.

Ericka Soles: Since this show had a very small cast really made things more personal and special. It was different because we usually have a big production with a big ensemble, which was not the case this year, but we got to be closer with the cast which really showed in our performances.


HS: Did you mind having to perform outside? 

Alanna: Obviously, with performing outside, the environment is very open a lot of our sound traveled everywhere so having to adapt with mics and orchestra, which is much easier to hear in the PAC because everything echoes. Trying to adapt and make sure everything you are saying is clear was difficult. Another problem with the weather was with the booths. If it was windy outside they would start flying and we had to adapt to fixing that and making sure it wasn’t a distraction. It was a new experience but it helped us grow as performers.

Brendan: It is very different performing outside, and it is new to not only performers, but to the school and the audience as well. Musicals in general have bigger expectations so it was definitely different. Especially for staging, and our set is usually very elaborate like last year for “The Addams Family,” but this year was very simplistic, which went in part with the outdoor setting. As we all saw, weather was another factor with how this went down. Shows were postponed due to the rain so that was also something we had to get used to.

Megan: It was a very different experience seeing a parking lot with a couple of seats rather than the huge audience you see while performing on the PAC stage. I think we pulled it off enough to the point it was enjoyable even in a parking lot.

Ericka: With the tech aspects, when you are doing a musical there are light cues, however, during the day shows the lightbulbs did not have much of an effect and having to adapt with the loss of that was different and I think we were able to pull it off because the set is only in one place.


HS: What were some of your biggest worries with performing outside?

Alanna: Being able to hear each other with cues based off of speech was something I was afraid of. Even the space between the orchestra and performers is huge in a musical because if we can’t hear each other the whole thing will be off. 

Brendan: Heat was definitely a huge factor especially while the weather was getting nicer. We also were asking audience members to sit outside in 90 degree weather for two hours which they will do but it is still a lot. I also think sound was a huge difference. The shape of the PAC helps us a lot but having that open air setting was more difficult for sound to get out.

Megan: I think my main concern was performing on the pavement. It is a lot different than the PAC stage and the booths were very loud on the pavement.

Ericka: For me, it was the heat. A lot of our dance numbers were very intense. Even doing it in the PAC would have been a lot, so having to do it outside, with masks in the heat was very difficult but i think the show has built up my stamina.


HS: What was your favorite part of this show?

Alanna: I think having the chance to be around everyone again. Just having a chance to have a show was nice, even if it wasn’t what any of us expected for four years. Having closure and having that last show make it good made it really enjoyable and making new friends is always the best part for me. 

Megan: I loved seeing everything come together. I have a lot of gratitude for everyone that helped out. We took what we got and made something good. 

Ericka: Just being able to perform and do it with my friends was just the best part since we were in isolation for so long. It was nice to do a musical again since the last one was in October of 2019. Everyone was so enthusiastic and eager to perform, which I loved.


HS: Did performing with the mask worry or annoy you?

Alanna: They are not the easiest thing to work around. The contestants got to take them off while singing which is definitely really helpful because you can take a good deep breath, but as for me, Brendan and Joelle, we didn’t really get a chance to take them off. 

Brendan: In regard to all of the other issues and inconveniences, masks fell by the wayside. More than anything, it was the concern of them dropping down your face. I never really saw them as a huge hurdle.

Megan: The lack of facial expressions was a huge issue. When you are dancing and acting, facials are really important and since the masks covered half our face, I felt like my eyes were basically bugging out of my head, trying to emphasize my emotions.

Ericka: It was just a new thing to learn especially when it came to sound projection. Learning to dance with them with the breathing and singing was difficult. 


HS: What advice do you have for incoming freshmen interested in joining the musical?

Alanna: For a lot of freshmen, auditioning can be very daunting. The theatre program at RV has a lot of people with strong personalities [who] can scare people away, but it is always worth giving it a try. Never stop trying even if you don’t get in on the first try. I found my greatest friends in this program and there’s always somewhere here for you. 

Brendan: Not just for Red Devil Dramatics, but all of the arts programs at RV, there are just some of the most welcoming people and I think it really shaped me into the person I am today. Now that I am leaving this program, I hope that this cycle will only continue and the future upperclassmen will help grow the newbies and the chain just continues on and on.

Megan: I think that the biggest thing for any freshman is to just get involved! Especially if performing arts is one of your interests and passions. Don’t be afraid! Being a part of the performing arts at RV is so memorable and you make so many amazing friendships. Whether you want to be a part of the stage crew, tech crew, promoting the show or even being in the show, I promise it is so worth it.

Ericka: It is a very tight knit group, but everyone is so open to new people because everyone has the same passion. It’s a really fun and loving environment.