Grand Haven High School put on “Check, Please” for the winter play on Feb. 26 and 27. “Check, Please” is a comedic series of bad dates. It is performed as a sequence of short scenes.
With the current COVID-19 restrictions, each cast member was allowed two spectators per show. There was also a live stream for those who were unable to physically attend the event.
MIME TIME (LEFT): Sophomore Brenden Howard is surprised to find that his date, junior Kate Eisnor, is a mime. Instead of speaking through words, she acted everything out.
Preparation for the show began back in early November. They spent roughly two months rehearsing remotely due to a COVID-19 induced school closure.
“The first week of rehearsal we were in person,” Sophomore actor Cayden Smaka said. ”We got shut down on Nov. 13 and went online. We would hop on Zoom two or three times a week to go over our scenes with each other.”
CAUGHT CREEPING (RIGHT): Sophomore Cayden Smaka plays the role of a creep who makes his date extremely uncomfortable. Smaka had a variety of different roles in the play,
Cast members faced a variety of challenges with the virtual transition and had to figure out new ways to form connections with one another. For rehearsal, the entire cast joined a Zoom call. They turned their cameras and microphones on when it came to their scene.
“Being online was definitely different,” Smaka said. “It was kind of like online school because there were a lot more distractions. It was harder to learn lines and make an accurate, authentic connection with people. The scenes were just two people talking to each other on a bad date and it is important to have chemistry. That was lost by going online.”
POTATO SACK (LEFT): Junior Lee Petterson was mortified by her date. He showed up wearing a sack.
Even though they could read through lines while online, it was difficult to fully rehearse because they were unable to act it out.
“We did our best online to get the feeling of the play,” Smaka said. “We didn’t put it all together until we were there. Once we were able to do it in person, the ball started to roll down the hill.”
UTTERLY ANNOYED (RIGHT): Junior Kassidy Bush is exasperated with the way junior Kyle Penland presented himself on the first date. He believed he was extreme in every aspect of his life and was not afraid to show it. "I really enjoy embodying my character and conveying how my character feels not just through her words, but through her body," Bush said.
The cast enjoyed participating in the show. They look forward to starting on the next one.
“Overall, it was a very fun show to do,” Smaka said. “The next show we will be doing is “Clue”. It will either be a musical or a play with soundtracks that go in the background. Make sure you go see that either online or in person.”
SLYLY STEALING (LEFT): Junior Cambelle Cleveland steals everything from the table and acts clueless when confronted by junior Kyle Penland. "My character doesn't really care how the date is going," Clevland said. "She just wants to take home all the stuff on the restaurant table."