Athens theatre III class to put on student-run production for student with disabilities

Camryn+Trapp%2C+junior%2C+and+Emma+Edwards%2C+senior%2C+prepare+to+sort+through+costumes.

Photos by Camryn Trapp

Camryn Trapp, junior, and Emma Edwards, senior, prepare to sort through costumes.

Athens’ 2021 spring semester advanced theatre class has big plans in May to put on a production exclusively for their friends in Shelia Nedoma’s class for students with disabilities. However, this is no ordinary production. The May production of “Rainbow Fish” will be the first of its kind, organized by an Athens class and performed for another Athens class, in addition to being done virtually. 

This entirely student-run production will include a cast of students from the class and is co-directed by seniors Peyton Joyner and Emma Grace Lehmann. It will give the class an opportunity to understand the inner workings of productions, from technical aspects to casting. Casting occurred in a unique way through votes from every member of the class after a class period comprised of reading “sides”, or excerpts, from the play. This play will be virtual to maintain COVID-19 safety, giving students another aspect of technicalities to deliberate. No official date has been set for the final production to allow students time to develop it. 

The show being virtual has presented a plethora of obstacles to overcome in new and unprecedented ways. Students must figure out how to put together cohesive sets and costumes from supplies at home and make clean-cut audio and video scenes. A crew comprised of all the students in the class who are also acting will be tasked with making sure all technical aspects convey a message of acceptance and unity while ensuring an organized outcome. The crew has been split into a costume group, set group, and digital group. However, to stick to the self-running method of this production and also due to limitations because of the pandemic, each individual actor will be involved in their own costume design as well. 

“We’ve struggled working around that and finding ways to effectively convey our message through a screen, but we’re definitely making the most out of all of this and are excited to see what we can do,” said Lehmann.

The play, “Rainbow Fish,” has long held a special place in many young people’s hearts, displaying the importance of individuality and community through fun and witty characters enjoyed by all audiences. It has been chosen amidst the confusion of the pandemic to reinstate a message of unity, especially to those who need it most.

“It’s been a tough year, especially for Athen’s Special Education population, so theatre is needed more than ever right now. Even if it just makes the kids smile, we’ve done our jobs,”

— Emma Grace Lehmann

said Lehmann. 

Through the difficulties of a virtual setting and the joys of creating under such unique circumstances, this production is sure to let Athens’ spirit of unity shine through. The theatre class’s rendition of “Rainbow Fish” will require more creativity and heart than ever before. 

“I’m hoping our audience will feel inspired and included after watching our production,” said Lehmann.