Woodland Theater’s 2020 Production: Arsenic and Old Lace

Every year, the Woodland Theater Department puts on a winter production in December. They host it in the auditorium, where parents, friends, and students are encouraged to attend. However, because of COVID-19 restrictions, holding a live performance was not possible this year. Instead, the Theater Department put on a virtual production. 

The play Arsenic and Old Lace is a comedy that follows the insane Brewster family. The protagonist, Mortimer Brewster, has to deal with his murderous relatives while also debating whether or not to marry the woman next door.

Cayleigh Cummings, Woodland junior, played Abby Brewster, an elderly aunt who poisons old men with arsenic. 

“We held rehearsals via Google meet, and the biggest challenge was definitely internet connection,” Cummings said. 

She described how cameras would freeze, mics would stop working, and people would have to exit the meeting completely due to a poor connection. Despite the technical difficulties, hosting a virtual production had its benefits. The cast used this as an opportunity to improve on their acting abilities and put emphasis on their tone of voice.

“A lot of theater is devoted to movement,” Cummings said, “but with this production, we could focus on the actual emotion and energy conveyed through words.” 

Each Google Meet rehearsal was recorded, and the final product was a compilation of the recordings. The best pieces of each performance were cut and edited together by the crew; cast members helped out by recording sound effects at their houses.  After many hours of work from the cast and crew, Arsenic and Old Lace premiered on the Theater Department’s YouTube channel Friday, December 4th.

“When we saw the final product with all the sound effects and our best performances,” Cummings said, “we were all extremely satisfied with how it turned out.”