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Jefferson/Silva players take performance online today

LockDown

(JEFFERSON/SILVA HIGH SCHOOL -- Nov. 6, 2020) — The Jefferson/Silva Fox Players present their production of “Lockdown” today online – giving audiences a glimpse of theater in the age of COVID through the lens of a frightening yet relevant topic.

The production can be streamed free and available to view from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. today through Broadway on Demand. You can watch here.

“The play explores what happens or what could happen in a school lockdown situation,” said theater director Anthony Stokes. “It is a very contemporary show that is unfortunately during this time, a very relatable subject.” 

Scenes are peppered with some adult language to show tense moments involving a possible school shooting.

“It was important to me to make a statement for the school with my first production. I wanted to draw students into the program with something they could relate to, before introducing them to the more fantastical aspects of theatre arts,” said Stokes, a professional puppeteer and actor whose credentials include New York City productions.

Silva junior Raven Macias plays Liz, an outcast with no friends who tries to stay strong and acts unaffected by the circumstances.

“I think for most people the situation of being in a lockdown will hit close to home,” Macias said. “I hope that the audience will be able to connect to and empathize with the characters. I also hope that this play will show people who may not know what it’s like to be in a lockdown just how frightening that experience is –especially when students are unsure of what’s happening.”   

Although theater and actors thrive in live performances, one advantage to their online production is the potential for a wider audience that could include patrons beyond El Paso. 

“If we were to perform a live show, the amount of people who would view the show would be limited,” said Macias, the president of Fox Players. “During these times, where COVID numbers are exceptionally high, the virtual option is the safer option.”  

The transformation of theater during COVID has had Stokes morph his class into a hybrid of theater and film by taking advantage of technology and social media platforms to teach and give his students more presence on a virtual stage.

“Theatre is very different as it’s an art form that thrives on live audiences and emotional and physical connection,” he said.  “For this show, in which the setting is a dark classroom, the challenge was to find a way to allow the cast and audience to feel like the actors are in the same confined space with tensions running high.” 

Macias found the jump to online challenging especially when actors are used to playing off each other’s energy to show connections and relationships. She credits Stokes’ creativity and direction for working with the cast and crew to overcome challenges because despite COVID, the show must go on. 

“It is important to continue to do theater during this time because it serves as an outlet for many people and allows them to keep their minds active,” Macias said. “Through theater, we are able to stay involved and put things out for others to view and hopefully spread positivity.”  

Story and photos by Reneé de Santos