This weekend at the Silver Lining Drive-In Theater, the Bedford County Players are putting on a stage production like you’ve never seen before — all 16 actors in “Godspell” will be socially distant and wearing face coverings throughout the entire show.
“This is the first time we’ve had to consider the social distancing,” said Kay Dull, director of the show.
Jim Dull, technical director, said each actor will have a “home base” on the 24-by-32-foot stage, and there will be an “acting area” on the stage where most of the action will take place.
Kay said actors will move between their home base and the acting area throughout the production. Even in the acting area, social distancing will take place.
“Since it’s a show about community and love, there were a lot of moments where actors would be close so we had to work around that,” Kay said.
“It’s very difficult to have some of the interactions,” said Shane Lynn, who plays Jesus in the production and is also the musical director. “But Kay has done a marvelous job of figuring all that out and keeping it emotional.”
“There are some air hugs and things like that,” Jim said, not wanting to give away too much of the production.
But keeping their actors socially distant was just one of the challenges that the directors faced in putting together the production.
“One of our biggest challenges was determining which face coverings to use,” Kay said, referring to the use of microphones in the production.
All of the actors are mic’d, she said, so they had to find the right face coverings to prevent any issues with the audio.
The performance will be projected onto the drive-in movie screen, and audio will be available through the car radio — just like a regular drive-in movie, only this production is live.
“There won’t be any trouble with the audience seeing or hearing the show,” Kay said.
Another challenge, Lynn said, was that their rehearsal time was nearly cut in half. Typically, the Bedford County Players have 8-10 weeks to rehearse. This time, they only had about five weeks.
“There are definitely some nerves because of the shortened rehearsal time,” Lynn said. “But very few people have complained.”
The weather is another potential challenge that could affect the production. Because of the equipment, Kay said, any rain would force a postponement, but anyone who has tickets for a postponed performance can come to another performance throughout the weekend.
“We’ve been watching the weather,” Kay said, mentioning that the weekend forecast looks mostly clear for now.
The 16 actors will be accompanied by four local band members, who will have their own stage and will also be socially distant with face coverings.
Even with all the unique challenges, the Bedford County Players are excited to put on the show.
“We’re loving it. The big plus of this is that we’re able to perform and do something for our community,” Kay said. “We’re especially excited to put on Godspell because of its message of love and community which is so important right now.”
“No one really likes to go through the social distancing, but (the actors) understand the importance of this,” Jim said.
Kay echoed that sentiment.
“I really do believe (the actors) are pleased with how it’s been working out,” she said. “They’re all very committed to this.”
“There’s something special about this show,” Lynn said. “I think as soon as the show was announced — people were on board from that moment.”
“We’ve had to be creative, but that’s what it’s all about,” Kay said. “No matter what, we want to continue to put on productions.”
Godspell will run Friday Sept. 18 through Sunday Sept. 20. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. each night. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased by calling 623-7555.