By Brooke Schultz
The abrupt closure of Washington College in the midst of the semester left students and professors behind in terms of classwork, but its effects spanned the rest of campus.
Senior Sean Syme’s senior directing thesis “The 39 Steps” was set to debut on Nov. 20, but because of the campus shutdown, the play has been rescheduled.
“Although the initial shutdown on Monday affected my show that week, having lost an entire rehearsal with the potential of more had the week gone that way, the overall closing of the school until the 30th proved to be helpful in the long run,” Syme said. Since the show has been rescheduled for Dec. 4 and 5, with an open dress rehearsal on the Dec. 3, the production now gets a full tech week. Syme worked with his thesis advisor and Department Chair Michele Volansky throughout the entire shutdown. “That proved to be really helpful in both scheduling, rescheduling, and keeping my sanity,” Syme said. He also said that the shutdown had not been ideal, but it did give him a short break to recuperate and reflect on his work. “Hopefully [this was] in ways that will help improve the show overall,” he said.
Senior Reilly Cox’s production, “Boxes,” was scheduled for Dec. 4 and 5, but is slightly different than Syme’s. Cox’s Senior Capstone Experience is a playwriting thesis, meaning it’s a “staged reading.” Cox said, “The momentums within rehearsals and the relationships to the scripts are so different that, suddenly meeting the delays, each team has to start navigating the same rough waters with very different ships.”
Cox was in the final two weeks of preparing for the opening night, and the plan was to have a final reading before Thanksgiving break where he could look “closely at the script for that which I could polish up over break and then move into tech upon coming back,” he said. Now, Cox has a new schedule, but it didn’t scare him as much as he thought it would. He said, “I had an amazing cast and director, and they’re capable of dealing with curveballs – which, considering the subject matter of my play, is useful. “Boxes” will now debut Dec. 9 and Dec. 10. Besides the student-run productions, other school functions were canceled or postponed until further notice as well. A concert series scheduled for Dec. 1 in conjunction with Jenny Oaks Baker and the College’s orchestra, chorus, and a variety of other professional musicians was canceled because they were unable to rehearse the groups. The concert was originally holiday-themed, but if rescheduled in the spring, it will be completely different.
Student Events Board (SEB) had two events scheduled for the week of the shutdown. The annual event Make Your Own Street Signs was scheduled for Nov. 19, but the event may be rescheduled during the end of this semester or sometime during the next. The movie, “The Wolfpack,” as part of SEB Film Series, was scheduled for Nov. 20 and it’s unclear whether or not it will be rescheduled before the next movie, “Elf” on Dec. 14.
The cancelations spread to guest lectures all over campus, and influenced the schedule for final classes. While the final exam week remains the same, instead of Reading Day, students will be attending their Monday classes on Friday, Dec. 11 and attending Tuesday classes on Saturday, Dec. 12 to make up for the lost class days.