At long last, Mid-Prairie High School students and staff were finally able to present “Three Fairy Godmothers,” the play they’d started working on in February. The actors were …
At long last, Mid-Prairie High School students and staff were finally able to present “Three Fairy Godmothers,” the play they’d started working on in February. The actors were already off-book and putting the finishing touches on their performance last spring when the pandemic hit and postponed the show.
Before the first scene on Saturday, Oct. 31, director Natalie Silbaugh addressed the audience about why she selected “Three Fairy Godmothers,” written by Jerry L. Twedt, for the school’s production.
“I don’t completely remember why I originally chose this play,” she said. “But choosing it now makes a lot of sense. It’s fitting — we all need to laugh right now.”
And the audience did laugh. The actors were versatile, jumping, falling, running and crawling across the breadth of the stage; at one point, Hoplandria, played by Terra Richardson, is literally rolled off the stage by Hepsabah, played by Em Marner.
Masks were required for everyone in the audience and, until the day before opening night, the thespians wore them too.
“The hardest part was trying to act with only half your face,” said Liv Caskey, who played Princess Dulcie, the bad-tempered princess that the three fairy godmothers are tasked with making sweet. “You got used to using only the top half and then suddenly having to use all your face again — that was hard.”
Silbaugh said that, while the students excelled in expressing themselves using only their eyes, wearing masks for rehearsal also prevented the cast from practicing with stage makeup, which they were only able to do on the day before the first performance.
Practice time was significantly reduced, and the cast was downsized as well when two seniors graduated in the spring and others decided not to continue with the show due to the pandemic.
Operating with such a diminished cast meant everyone had to lend a hand during scene changes and help with other tasks usually reserved for stagehands.
But the students said the hardest part of producing a play during a pandemic was the fear — the cast is an extremely tight-knit group, but the cast a crew carried the constant threat of a COVID outbreak throughout the entire duration.
“This week was very scary for all of us because if one of us got COVID, the entire show would have gone,” said senior Elizabeth Meader, who played the fairy-godmother-in-charge, Hortense. “I had to quarantine for two weeks right before the show. I was at home crying because I just wanted to be there, but I had to follow the rules.”
Silbaugh said she is extremely proud of the cast and crew, not just for their stellar performance, but for how they handled every challenge and roadblock put before them during the long, seven-month road between auditions and curtain call.
“They have been so positive through the whole entire process, understanding of each other’s’ fears and worries and those of the community and being respectful of everyone,” Silbaugh said. “They’ve been so flexible with all the changes we’ve made. The students are totally resilient, always rising to the occasion.”