Theatre. A word that means so much to so many people.
For many people, theatre is an escape from reality. It makes one forget their surroundings and focus solely on the character they are portraying. Thanks to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the last performances of Eastern Christian High School’s production of Seussical were canceled, and no new performances have been added this fall.
One of the people most affected by the loss of theatre was senior Kelly Steenstra. Kelly recalls of the cancellation, “I like to use the musicals as an outlet, in a way, especially dancing. Dancing is a way that I can relieve school stress, and to not have that was a huge disappointment.”
The lack of theatre has definitely been felt throughout the EC community, but according to former director Ms. Okma, the cancellation last spring was mandated by the state and could not have been stopped. While it was definitely a heartbreaking decision, it did not come as a surprise. “In a way I was (expecting it) because everything else had been canceled, but there was also a part of me that was like ‘no, there’s no way that this can be taken from me’ and then it was, and it was just so shocking,” Kelly recalled.
Many students at EC consider theatre to be a big part of themselves. “Theatre people are interesting people, so I’ve definitely learned a lot from them. Being a part of theatre has become who I am, and like I said, I like to use it as an outlet sometimes and the community is just so amazing, and I love it,” says Kelly.
Kelly still remembers the day it was announced. “ I was in Financial Lit with a few other cast members, then the PA system went off and they asked for all musical members to report to the auditorium. Our class went dead silent, the four or five of us who were in there slowly stood up, slowly walked out of the door. It was very dramatic. Then we sat in rows in the auditorium and they told us that they didn’t want to do it, but that they were going to have to cut the show short. We were kind of expecting it, but the realization hit us all. It kind of hit half of us, and a lot of us were crying and grieving with each other, and the other half just like didn’t know what to think,” Kelly related.
One of the most memorable parts of Seussical, Kelly says, was actually a song. The song in question seemed to perfectly encompass the situation: “When the news is all bad/when you’re sour and blue/when you start to get mad, you should do what I do/tell yourself how lucky you are.” Kelly recalled, “The final night when we sang that song, I remember standing next to my fellow cast members and just genuinely singing that song”.
While hopes for a second show may be bleak, Kelly Steenstra has not given up. When asked if she is still holding out hope for a spring show, Kelly explained, “Yes, I am! However, I have hope, just not high expectations.”