Theater’s end?

Mustang thespians deal with the disappointment of cancelled productions this fall.

Jalen Lindh, Reporter

“I think there is incredible value in the world of theater. What we do as the people who get to help make and form this part of the theater, and those who perform, [offers] experiences that you won’t get on a football field. It’s a different kind of experience,” Manitou Springs High School theater teacher Wendy Harms said, expressing why theater is just as important as any other extracurricular activity.

Not having a theater program may not seem like an important issue to some, but the effect it has had on certain MSHS students and teachers has been profound. Just as sports, theater is important to many kids who love to take part in it. Whether constructing the set, props, and costumes, or managing the lights, or just acting in general, it still holds an important place in many students’ hearts. Sadly, most extracurriculars have been moved to next semester. This means that none of the students will be able to see a fall play this year. The One-Act may or may not be absent this year, due to it usually being held in February, and many are still uncertain about what will take place in the second semester of school.

Heather Moore (12), expressed her feelings about there being no fall theater productions. “Well, it makes me sad that I can’t do the thing that I love,” she said, “but I also totally understand it. We don’t want to get more people sick with COVID so that soon, we can have all the shows and activities that we had before without the fear of getting someone hospitalized from doing so. Don’t get me wrong,” Moore said, “theater is such a big thing in my life, but just because I can’t do it doesn’t mean I can never do it again.” Many other Manitou Springs High School theater students feel the same way.

Manitou Springs High School isn’t the only theater group experiencing set backs during COVID-19. “There are no theaters right now that are producing any types of plays. There’s a risk of getting actors together, to do what actors do, and an even higher risk of getting an audience together to be able to watch those actors,” beloved teacher Wendy Harms said. Harms also admitted that even though it’s definitely the smarter, and safer act, it was difficult at first to teach theater classes in the hybrid model. The theater is all about interaction, and with social distancing and mask rules, the interaction can’t happen naturally. Harms felt that having smaller class sizes during the hybrid model enabled “connecting in a different way with students”. However, “On the flip side,” Harms said, “some classes are too small, because theater takes a lot of people and a lot of energy.” Harms hopes that in the second semester of school most of this will hopefully die down, and the MSHS theater program will be able to go back to normal and hopefully squeeze out one last production for MSHS students.

This just goes to show that theater is not as small or unimportant as you may think. It actually plays a vital role in the lives of many students. The theater is just as important as any other sport or extracurricular and hopefully, with a little bit of luck, the theater crew can put on a spectacular show before this year has ended. Times are tough, but together, we can get through. We are at Manitou Springs High School. We are strong, we are tough, we are MUSTANGS!