Troupe 1096 and the Challenges of Online Theatre

Dakota Gervais, Reporter

Last school year the unthinkable happened for Troupe 1096: the show was stopped. 

This was the case for Troupe 1096’s upperclassmen production, A Chorus Line. It was difficult to transfer an already-worked-on play to a digital production in a short period of time. It was heartbreaking for the seniors, who had to let their final production at Durango High School be called off. 

However, the Troupe didn’t want that to be the case this year and has decided to do Zoom productions on pieces like George Orwell’s 1984. While everyone is happy to produce plays again, switching to online production has revealed new issues for the Troupe to confront. 

“Scheduling has been very difficult this year. It’s hard to ‘read the energy’ of the rehearsal or the meeting. I’m really good when I’m in the room to pick up on subtleties of knowing what needs to be said, or done, or how to explain something or give a note …  Online, it’s a whole different ball game. You never know if something truly lands,” said Benjamin Mattson, the director of Troupe 1096.

Going digital has made it harder to connect with the audience, which is a crucial part of theatre. “The great joy of theater is interacting with the audience,” said junior Maya Mouret, a member of Troupe 1096. 

Although there are some difficulties, there are also some benefits of working online. 

“It’s always good to think in new ways and try to be creative with the restrictions you are given. Using new technology to tell the story of 1984 is a great way to test out this new theatre environment,” says Mattson. 

This flexibility in putting on a production is one of the great things about theater. However, even with these new experiences and ways to make a production happen, not being able to see the troupe and everyone who helps out has been a struggle for everyone involved. 

 “There are a lot of things that I miss about doing these shows in person. The feel of a family is always so much stronger and the adrenaline rush of walking out on stage in front of an audience who has their full attention on you is amazing,” said Aiden Hurley, a sophomore who joined the Troupe the first chance he got in his freshman year during the production of the Little Mermaid.

This year has seen so many hardships and barriers in many different ways. Not being able to see the family in Troupe 1096 has definitely been one of those difficulties, but with everyone’s perseverance and dedication to theater, they will be able to make a great show even in the hardest of times.