By Ariel Finkle
The questions about this year’s play are always the same:
“You were in drama this year during the ‘Play-gue?’ What was it like?”
At first, I thought it was just the flu. Drama season is always flu season, too, after all. Besides, in both my freshman and sophomore year, when some people in the cast caught the flu, it never fazed anyone. Everyone knew they would recover by opening night. They always did.
But not this year.
Before this year’s play, I had no idea about things like norovirus, or how it can spread in a group. I didn’t even know how to spell norovirus!
However, I soon learned that what could potentially be a norovirus would spell disaster for all of us.
“What did it look like backstage on opening night?”
When I first walked into the band room to put on makeup, everyone in there was wearing face masks. Ice-blue, hospital face masks. The ones that shield people’s noses and mouths like bulletproof vests, or crucifixes against the devil.
I scoffed. I told them all that they weren’t fighting against a stream of bullets or Satan, just the flu. Something that comes and goes every winter.
I thought the masks were just from people being dramatic and superstitious. We actors are very superstitious, after all: we say “break a leg” instead of “good luck.” We say “The Scottish Play” instead of the true name of Shakespeare’s……I’m not telling you the real name of “The Scottish Play!” It could bring bad luck!
My first thoughts were that the masks were just another talisman, another lucky rabbit’s foot, another crazy tradition to do before the curtains rose.
What a fool I was.
“Were people really throwing up onstage during the show?”
No. Luckily, everyone who was on stage was well enough to perform.
“What about the barf buckets?”
Yes, they were real. They were positioned on either side of the stage in case anyone needed to use them. No, nobody used them.
“Aw, man…….What were all the people who weren’t sick doing while all of this was happening?”
If people weren’t sick, they were worrying themselves sick.
Everyone thought they were going to be next into the bathroom. Even though most people were chugging down water and shoving down lozenges.
It was pretty chaotic with everyone just trying to make sure that the show could go on.
Everyone was steering clear of each other, which was hard to do in a club where everything was usually so communal. We decided against sharing food and makeup with each other, unlike usual. Hand sanitizer was the only thing anyone wanted to share.
But the worrying passed, like stress always does, eventually. The show did go on, even if we had to get a few last-minute understudies to play the parts. We all got through it and we all lived through it.
“How did the show go?”
It was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been in.