Al Toots at left, Rob King and James Fofonoff perform a scene from The Principality of Baldonia. The play was performed using the Zoom platform. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Summerland Singers and Players have remained active. (Contributed)

Al Toots at left, Rob King and James Fofonoff perform a scene from The Principality of Baldonia. The play was performed using the Zoom platform. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Summerland Singers and Players have remained active. (Contributed)

Summerland actors adapt to COVID-19 restrictions

Theatre group staged full-length play using Zoom platform

Members of the Summerland Singers and Players have found ways to present dramas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the limitations as a result of the pandemic have also cancelled several dramatic events.

Because of the pandemic, the drama group was not able to stage its annual murder mystery on the Kettle Valley Steam Railway and was also unable to stage a holiday drama during the festive season.

The murder mystery would have featured a locally written story, set aboard the historic tourist train in Summerland, but the train was not able to operate last summer, said James Fofonoff, president of the theatre group.

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The holiday-themed drama was also cancelled as a result of the pandemic. The Summerland Singers and Players had hoped to stage the production at the bandshell in Memorial Park, but restrictions neat the end of 2020 resulted in the cancellation of the production.

Fofonoff said the group has staged dramas using the Zoom platform.

The actors have staged several 10-minute one-act plays using the conferencing platform.

Fofonoff said the actors worked on ways to make it appear they were passing objects from one person to another.

More recently, the actors staged a full-length play using Zoom.

The play, The Principality of Baldonia, had a cast of six actors. Instead of bringing the actors together on the stage, each actor was at home, in front of a computer.

Those in the audience were able to view the live performance. Around 55 people watched the production.

Fofonoff said the play is based on a true story of a few men from Canada and the United States who set up their own small country on an island off the coast of Nova Scotia.

While the Zoom drama worked, Fofonoff said the experience was not the same as a play performed on a stage and in front of an audience.

“An audience and a cast have a connection,” he said. “On Zoom, that connection is nonexistent.”

As the restrictions are lifting, Fofonoff said the theatre group is planning to return to the stage to present live theatre, if not this year, then in 2022.

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