The Virtual HS Play: Ride the Sky

Written by: Jaeho 

Edited by: Keitaro 

Visual by: Johanna

On January 18th, ISM presented the first virtual HS play during the period of distance learning. However, it was also the first HS play to be fully original in plot and music meaning that the play was created entirely by the students. The play titled, “RIDE THE SKY”, directed by Ms. Monsod, revolves around a group of friends playing the famous tabletop role-playing game “Dungeons and Dragons” and is uploaded to the Ismanila Youtube Channel in a series of 6 episodes. 

Devising a virtual play meant actors couldn’t physically be together and rehearse with one another. They were in their homes in front of their laptops reciting lines separately. The cast put together their own script and were constantly on Zoom calls playing around with the many features like speaker view and gallery view to optimize the experience for the audience. When everything was set, they used the Zoom recording function to recite their lines for the final product. As the score was also original, ISM musicians would also participate in Zoom meetings–needing to come up with scores for specific scenes. These parts were then edited by the editor and finally uploaded to the Ismanila Youtube Channel. 

The cast of the play had a lot to say as Ishaan explained, “it was really nice that the theatre community is that powerful that we can make the best of a really bad situation.” However, he did admit there were some challenges that were present as he explained, “we had difficulty devising a script and acting it virtually as we sort of felt us only being on a screen was restricting our acting abilities.” Kenton also appreciated the format of the play as he thought, “this was a great way to be able to connect with people given the restrictions caused by COVID. Still, there were just a lot of limitations when doing a play on Zoom.” 

Overall, the ISM community has had a positive viewing experience. Alex was pleasantly surprised as he claimed, “it’s really great that despite the circumstances, substantial efforts are still being made to maintain these types of traditions part of ISM culture.” Still, he thought that, obviously there were still some limitations like in the cinematography and video quality. Celine thought, “they were able to incorporate online aspects during the play and that didn’t hinder their acting or intensity of the scenes.” Finally, Kate believed that, “it was really cool because even during the pandemic they found a way to provide the school with entertainment.”

This production proved how devoted the theatre community is as they persevered to entertain the ISM community through these hard times. Hopefully, this experience opens up opportunities for the theatre community to integrate more technology into their future plays.