CORAL SPRINGS, FL – A fan of drama, senior Nick Vela has taken part in shows every year while attending J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs.

But this year’s show won’t be anything similar to the 13 productions he’s worked on at the school over the past three years.

“It’s been a challenge, but we’re getting through it,” said Vela, who is vice-president of the school’s drama club.

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The challenge, during the pandemic, is that the show – “Creative Conscious” – will be all-virtual.

All-virtual as in: all the brainstorming, all the writing, all the rehearsing, all the production, and of course, all the viewing.

The first-ever, all-virtual show is by no means limited to Taravella High School, as schools and theater companies across the globe are wrestling with how to bring drama to audiences who can’t meet in person.

Thirty students at Taravella High School began working on the musical just days after school started on Aug. 19.

They will perform the recorded, hour-long show on Sept. 24 and 25 on a video-streaming service to an anticipated audience of 250 people.

Theater Director Lori Sessions said the musical is original, written, directed, recorded and soon-to-be produced by students with help from Lovewell Institute For The Creative Arts, a nonprofit based in Fort Lauderdale.

“There’s been a lot of technical challenges but the students have done great,” said Sessions, who is also the school’s fine arts department chair. “We’d prefer to be together on the set but we’re now on video talking, planning and looking for backgrounds for the show.”

“Creative Conscious” is made up of four vignettes based around the themes of people gone missing, a trial, a wedding, and a society of misfits.

All the planning work has mostly been done on the virtual calls, despite internet glitches and delays.

Instead of a stage, the students performed their roles at home and on virtual calls, recording their parts.

Staff from Lovewell Institute For The Creative Arts are now stringing all the recordings together for the show.

“For me, the best part of this process has been to see the students connect and support each other,” Sessions said. “Being able to create something like this has been a huge undertaking.”

For Vela, the show taught him to use new forms of technology that he hopes will help him long after he graduates high school.

“I was always a pen and paper kind of person. Now I can see the efficiency of technology,” Vela said. “It was great to work on this and get acclimated to the new environment we are living in.”

Tickets for the Sept. 24 and 25 “Creative Conscious” show at 7 pm are $20. They can be purchased here.


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