Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Show Must Go Online for MIA Thespians




The Marco Island Academy performing arts department is presenting eight short plays online on Friday (May 8th), and Saturday (May 9th), at 7 PM. There will be four plays each night. The plays are free, although organizers are welcoming donations at their GoFundMe page.

The idea for the online plays was spawned by MIA theatre instructor and thespian troupe director Chris Dayett. Dayett got the idea when he entered a Quarantine Bake-Off that was held by students from the University of Minnesota to challenge theatre and non-theatre writers to create art. 

Drama student Prestley Irvan is a senior at MIA.

MIA students, staff and friends were challenged to write and submit a 15 page or shorter play based on a series of “ingredients” with a 48-hour deadline. The ingredients for the Bake-Off competition include a room, a roll of toilet paper/paper towels, a communication device, a lesson learned and a source of light.

“I’m really just facilitating this and acting as producer/film editor,” Dayett explained. “I’ve turned this over to the students for the most part, giving them pointers and suggestions along the way.”

The MIA students have bought in and are excited to present their plays, whose run times are between 10-20 minutes.

“I’m really excited to be participating in this event,” said Prestley Irvan, a senior at MIA. “I may be missing out on some end of year activities on campus, however, being a part of the ‘Bake-Off’ event has allowed me to still feel like I’m doing something at my school and it lets me stay connected with the staff and students at my school in a fun setting.”

“My play is based on an apocalyptic future of 2037 where families are still in quarantine,” said Grace Fields. “They now have to risk their lives for basic essentials such as toilet paper. The story follows a father who risks everything for his family, and his daughter follows him.”

“Acting and singing has always been an interest of mine,” Irvan said, “and I’ve loved being a part of MIA’s previous productions over the years. But writing my very own play was definitely an exciting challenge and I’m glad I decided to be a part of it.”

“Overall, the whole ‘Bake-Off’ experience was really great,” stated Fields. “It allowed me to take a stab at playwriting, something I have wanted to do for a while but never attempted. I’m glad that it was a good distraction from what we are all going through in quarantine right now. I directed a scene before in our theater class and I really liked it so it’s fun to try directing again and now adding a new element of creating a story.” 

“They’re a fun bunch of kids,” said Dayett. “I was excited to give them a chance to write, direct, and perform.”

MIA Principal Melissa Scott offered a spoiler alert for one of the plays. “I’m playing a very young, hip mother,” she said jokingly.

The play’s premiere on a YouTube Channel (tinyurl.com/MIAPerfArtsYT). Donations can be made to the performing arts GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/miaperfarts2020.

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