Miranda Martinez. Photograph by Marcus Kwan

For Denver Faculty of the Arts seniors, their remaining performances are the top of their time there. This 12 months’s class, nevertheless, by no means acquired its close-up.


It’s troublesome to think about dropping your remaining months of highschool: senior promenade, commencement, senior ditch day, and, doubtlessly, the final alternative to spend significant time with associates. In speaking to my very own highschool associates, we agree it’s additionally unimaginable to not have a remaining efficiency.

I attended Denver Faculty of the Arts (DSA) for center and highschool. I auditioned and was accepted to the college in sixth grade as a vocal music main. I appeared on stage dozens of instances a 12 months earlier than graduating in 2009, however the crowning achievement of that effort was my senior challenge. It required me to carry out a solo recital of 10 songs utilizing the abilities I had realized throughout my seven years at DSA. The method was probably the most difficult of my life, however the finish consequence was the right capstone.

Seniors this 12 months, like Miranda Martinez, have been wanting ahead to that very same alternative. Then the world modified. A theater main who has additionally attended DSA for seven years, Martinez was set to direct her division’s senior challenge—a play written and produced by the senior class—earlier than COVID-19 halted manufacturing.

“We have been fairly deep into the event stage,” says Martinez. “We had performed our auditions, our first learn by way of, and a blocking rehearsal. Then, the day after that, we didn’t come again to high school.”

The sudden stoppage was troublesome.

“It’s actually made all of us really feel unhappy as a result of our senior 12 months was supposed to finish with this present. That’s all the time one thing that we’ve sort of taken without any consideration,” Martinez says. “These circumstances have actually made us notice how lucky we’re to have gone to this faculty and obtained the alternatives that we did.”

Three different seniors wrote the challenge. The plan was to take the viewers by way of an immersive theater journey, like Sleep No Extra in New York Metropolis. Viewers members would roam by way of the offstage areas of the college, watching vignettes. The theme of the present was the transition from childhood to adolescence, with every location all through the college representing a distinct world the place teenagers grapple with experiences, such because the lack of innocence.

With the novel coronavirus within the public consciousness, an immersive expertise was out of the query. Like all different forms of studying on the faculty, theater needed to transition to an internet area. “Getting individuals collectively to place this in a digital format has been troublesome,” Martinez says. “It’s actually emphasised resourcefulness. It’s opened my eyes to how collaborative theater is—how a lot you rely upon different individuals.”

One senior, Sam Kaplan, rose to the problem of COVID-19 by main the event of an interactive web site, referred to as Drawing Circles, that brings parts of the unique script to gentle. The web site options podcasts of every of the scenes together with footage, music, and senior bios.

Fortunately for Martinez, she did have one remaining curtain earlier than the world shut down. Like all the pieces in the course of the pandemic, nevertheless, it was unorthodox: When DSA introduced its suspension of in-person faculty in March, Martinez was in costume rehearsals for a present referred to as The Wolves. Plans modified from a costume rehearsal to an precise manufacturing. “That final day we have been instructed, ‘That is going to be your opening night time—invite all your household,’” Martinez says, “‘As a result of, after this, we’re not going to have the ability to do one other present.’ So, I knew that was going to be my final time on stage.”

Martinez plans to pursue theater on the College of Southern California within the fall. Proper now, the campus is planning to open. But when it doesn’t, Martinez is ready as a result of her senior 12 months of highschool—and particularly her remaining time on stage—readied her to take care of unpredictability.

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