Periwig Showcases WinterFest “A” Night Performances

This year’s virtual WinterFest will host six “A” night performances on February 5 and 6. While the event has gone through some changes compared to years past, the WinterFest heads and student directors have prepared six plays for the Lawrenceville community. This year’s WinterFest will feature the works of 18 student directors and over 40 actors and technicians.

Through extensive planning, Head of WinterFest Eleni Lefakis ’21 and Assistant Head of WinterFest Calli Colvin ’22 developed many aspects of WinterFest to ensure its success over a virtual setting. Although they didn’t have to manage props, costumes, and set pieces for this year’s performances, according to Lefakis, “We had to do a lot of scheduling far in advance…There were a lot of logistical challenges that we didn’t use to have.” In the process, Lefakis and Colvin have not only transferred all in-print materials to online documents, but also implemented workshops to help the directors to adapt to the virtual platform.“Everything [about the preparation process] is the same but slightly shifted,” said Colvin.

The various directors of WinterFest have prepared a wide variety of performances for “A” night, including comedies such as Meow, directed by Yee Xin Cher ’22; Stay, Carl, Stay, directed by Zack Finacchio ’21 and Annie Katz ’22; DMV Tyrant, directed by Bobby Cloninger ’22 and Jamie Nicholson ’22; and The Space Cough, directed by Kate Dillard ’22 and Lina Olazabal ’22. The night will also feature the light dramas Lonely, directed by Ariana Codjoe ’21 and Amelia Roselli ’21, and Awkward Silence, directed by Stephanie Xu ’23.

While preparing a play over a virtual Winter Term served as a challenge, the directors all noted that they hope their work will give students something to brighten up in their term. Xu also spoke about some of her goals for her WinterFest performance. “Despite [the production] being a virtual show, what I hope to accomplish for the performance this week is...to make the audience laugh and enjoy the performance...Theater is nothing without its audience, even if the actors are unable to see the physical reactions of their audience,” she said.

One of the actors for DMV Tyrant, Laura French ’21, enjoyed her unique experience. “It can be really hard to gauge people’s expressions through a screen, and lag time makes it difficult to respond in a way that feels natural,” she said. “But at the same time, working to create a play that is both cohesive and interesting to watch over a screen has been a really fun challenge.”

Unlike a majority of WinterFest performances, this year, one of the plays, The Space Cough, was actually written by a Lawrentian, Emily Hammond ’23. She described the play as a political satire set in space resembling “the hectic state of politics that America is currently in.”

“The first draft came really easily to me because I wanted to capture the turmoil that is happening in the news right now relating to Covid-19...The government and the many opposing sides don’t even listen to each other, they just spit out what their beliefs are. I wanted this play to kind of reflect that to show that working together is an option even if my characters don’t,” she said.

Not only will Hammond’s play be performed at WinterFest, The Space Cough will soon be shown at a theater festival in Maine. Leading up to WinterFest, Hammond said, “I have my full faith in the directors. I’m sure they’re going to do an amazing job, and the cast seems so dedicated…I’m just so excited!”

While the format has undoubtedly been very different from previous years, Colvin was still able to extract positives from her experience this year, noting how WinterFest has “helped [her] build a bond with [her] classmates while also bringing light to the terror which is virtual learning.” Colvin is excited to share WinterFest with the rest of the community, saying, “We have an amazing group of directors and actors, and everyone should come out!”

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