Health becomes top priority in UIL preparations


Shelby Townsend

Seniors Paige Heyl and Sarah Cutrer sit together on the charter bus headed to an official rehearsal for their UIL competition play on March 1.

Shelby Townsend, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has hit the theater department hard more than once this year. They started up rehearsals in January for their UIL competition show, “The Girl in the White Pinafore,” but a spurt of cases took out four people in the production, forcing alternates to step up. 

“At first I was nervous, but then I started acting and having fun,” said freshman Alexa Grubb, an alternate who stood in for one of the cast members during rehearsals.

Senior Paige Heyl, one of the main characters in the play, is continuing to wear her mask and keep a safe distance from others. Being in every scene, she is vigilant about avoiding exposure and putting things behind schedule since the first zone competition is March 5.

“When I eat at lunch I’m trying to not really be around people,” said Heyl. 

People who tested positive missed multiple rehearsals before being cleared to return to school. They have had to catch up on blocking, set changes, even cast changes. 

“Get tested once you start showing symptoms,” advised senior Carey Beal, who was diagnosed the first few days of rehearsal. “Because then you’re more likely to get an accurate test, and if you’re feeling icky, double mask up, wash your hands.”

Even though theater has seemed to settle down since the early surge of cases, they are still nervous. Whether they drop out or have conflicting schedules, the UIL company has slowly whittled down to the most committed of the bunch. Nevertheless, the theater department continues to rehearse daily.

“I think we’re doing great as long as we keep working hard then we’ll be in a good place,” said Jami Windham, co-director of the play.