By Lily Jacobson
Lights. Camera. Action. “The Monologue Show from Hell” debuted on Thursday, January 14. Directed by Lower School general studies teacher Zachary Ferentz, this performance was the first show to be held for actors only in-person at TLS and broadcast via Zoom.
“The Monologue Show from Hell” told the story of a comedic production gone wrong. The play included different sketches, ranging from a teenage break-up to a garden gnome heist.
Due to the risks involved with performing for an in-person audience during COVID-19, Ferentz chose a play that could be broadcast on Zoom, featuring only one actor at any given time so that other performers could remain 6 feet apart during their time on stage.
“We all auditioned by performing a monologue of our choice,” junior Angelina Palumbo said.
After the cast was announced, rehearsals were conducted individually on Zoom with Ferentz until the last week before opening night, when rehearsals took place with the whole cast in the Black Box Theater.
“From rehearsing, to painting sets, to setting up cameras, the entire cast and crew worked hard to make sure our production was a success,” Ferentz said. “I am so impressed with the students and I am so grateful to the administration, the faculty and the parents because the schedule has changed many times and everyone has been very flexible.”
Senior Eli Weiss and junior Ana Berstein worked on the stage crew together, miking the cast and controlling the live stream.
“We did not need a very big crew for this show because there were no sets, no audience, no backstage; basically nothing that would normally be there,” Bernstein said. “We communicated with the cast and with the director about any issues that arose.”
Palumbo performed three monologues as three different characters: a chipotle worker, a sassy mean girl and a Harry Potter fan. She dedicated countless hours to preparing for the play by memorizing her lines and attending rehearsals, both on Zoom and in-person.
“We have been practicing for about two or three months,” Palumbo said. “We had a lot of Zoom rehearsals, which is really not the same as in-person rehearsals. The final week we stayed at school until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. every night, running through the show to get everything done.”
Due to the sheer volume of lines that Palumbo had to memorize, she would repeat lines over and over while staring into a mirror. Palumbo was excited when she heard that the play was still being produced and performed in-person. She felt that it was a great opportunity to meet students from different grades and a chance to be part of something bigger than herself.
“It is like my version of sports,” Palumbo said. “[Mr. Ferentz] did an amazing job.”