For One Night Only: Troupe 3780’s Return to Stage

Photograph+by+Emilee+Namphengsone

Photograph by Emilee Namphengsone

James Simpson, Contributing Writer

In March of 2020 students everywhere were told that their extracurriculars would have to be put on hold indefinitely. This news was shocking to everyone, but Gaither’s own theater Troupe 3780 was hit especially hard. 

The group of talented thespians was only two days away from performing their district-winning one-act play “Baby with a Bathwater,” and hard at work preparing for the three-night run of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a musical that Gaither Theater Director William Albritton described as “the best show [he] had been involved with in [his] career.”

The cancellation of JCS was not just a disappointment for the many seniors who would never have the chance to perform in their home auditorium again, it was also a financial disaster. With $4,000 invested into the show and no opportunity to recoup that through performances, the theater program was left high and dry during the 2021 school year. 

Even with the financial struggles of the program, there were attempts made district-wide to create opportunities for those in the theater to perform despite covid restrictions. 

Gaither’s actors and actresses were able to submit recorded individual performances to IE’s and a recording of their student-written one-act was sent to the annual District 9 One-Act Festival. 

Senior and member of Troupe Leadership Genesis Estrada-Bermudez says that she “wouldn’t say it [was] something I prefer,” but that “at least it was something.” 

Nothing beats being in front of a live audience and Junior Ellie Waugh says that going into the spring season she has “been most excited about going back on stage and performing again.”

With the fall season behind them, Troupe 3780 looked ahead to what is normally one of the most exciting times in high school theater: the spring musical. But with the bank account near zero, the troupe had no way to purchase rights to an official Broadway show, let alone costumes and sets. Things were looking bleak, but this dark time in Gaither theater history led the troupe to a new opportunity. 

Enter stage left: “The Rona. The Musical.” 

The show, which will be a unique combination of jukebox musical numbers and original scenes, aims to capture the “different and individual ways” the pandemic has affected all of us.

“The ultimate goal is to be respectful to those who have experienced the worst of this thing without depressing our audience for an hour,” said Albritton.

In what will hopefully be a strong return to form for Gaither theater, Albritton is most excited for the student-led dance numbers during the musical aspect of the show. Students like Waugh say she’s enjoyed being able to create choreography with her friends and that the show is a “fun opportunity to perform [and] a good solution to our problem.”

Students have been involved in more than just the choreography of the musical numbers. It’s really become a group effort. 

Albritton says that he “can’t say enough about these kids and how well they are working together and taking direction from one another. I have six cast members who I would call assistant directors helping to put this thing together.” 

This unique time has also been a great learning experience for the young actors and actresses. Albritton says that masks provide a unique challenge and that the thespians are forced to “pay more attention to articulation and vocal projection” to overcome the muffling effects. 

The show will be performed one night only on Friday, May 21st at the GHS Auditorium. Tickets will be $10 and will only be available online at a link that will be announced in the future. Follow @gaithertheatre on Instagram for more information and come see the show!