Portsmouth Christian Academy Presents Black Box Theatre Performance as Dine-In Movie Experience
January 29, 2021 – Dover, NH – Portsmouth Christian Academy (PCA) is presenting Black Box theatre performances this weekend in the form of a live Dine-In Movie, a first of its kind for the school.
PCA is delivering both productions under Covid health and safety protocols while allowing audience members to engage with the show’s characters.
This year’s unique production is presented as back-to-back, pre-recorded one-act plays. The first performance is The Internet is Distract – Oh, Look a Kitten!, presented by the PCA Junior High Players, written by Ian McWethy and directed by Melissa Weisberg. The second performance is Oz, performed by PCA Upper School Players, written by Don Zolidis and directed by 11th grade student, Abigail Eisner.
PCA’s Black Box Film 2021 producer, Kelley Plante, remarked, “The production involves students, faculty, and film professionals who team up to reformat 2, 1-act stage shows for film, allowing each and every cast and crew member to participate despite health concerns or quarantine status. Not only does this preserve the live-theatre experience, but it gives audiences an opportunity to enjoy a safe and fun outing. Guests are seated by family at candle-lit tables and served favorite (individually-packaged) movie treats by a cast of characters, dressed in costume and fully committed to their Black Box roles.”
“This was an important element of school for our community. Students grow in perseverance, discipline and self-esteem as they learn how to act, design, and run all aspects of a production.” says Plante. The character development Plante spoke of was clear to see in the performers in their matinee showing this past Thursday night. Student performers greeted each attendee in-character at the door, kindly escorting them to their tables and serving them while keeping to theatricality.
“The thing I probably loved most is the laughs we have together. When we mess up, since it was recorded and we could have many takes, we all would just burst into laughter,” says Nivi, a 7th grader who plays Taylor in The Internet is Distract – Oh, Look a Kitten!, “It’s just a new experience,” she says. Nivi went on to describe the difference between this production, which was rehearsed in-person and moved online for health and safety reasons, and their full-remote production from last spring. While last year’s production was done entirely over a live Zoom call, this year’s production was recorded in segments, allowing for greater flexibility and creative production.
Different characters from the one-act films, such as Glenda the Good Witch of the North and the Scarecrow, introduce themselves to the seated audience members and warmed up viewers to their characters before the films were shown.
The Internet is Distract – Oh, Look a Kitten! told the story of Micah, who struggled in finishing her final report on the Great Gatsby in the face of internet distractions, and Oz presented the story of Beth who suddenly finds herself journeying through a world suspiciously resembling that of The Wizard of Oz after her sister’s death. Though very different in their content, the humor and relatable themes of internal conflict easily connect with audiences, both young and old.
Each film shows behind–the–scenes features and bloopers, with the night ending with a curtain call and Q&A segment with the cast. During Thursday’s performance, one parent raised their hand, commenting, “You all looked like you had way too much fun.” The entire cast sounded in agreement with knowing looks and enthusiastic ‘we did’s.”
Black Box Film 2021 will be performed in Troiano Hall at Portsmouth Christian Academy, 20 Seaborne Dr, on Friday, January 29th, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. as well as Saturday, January 30, at 6:30 p.m. Ticket options range from $5 for students, $10 for General Virtual Admission, and $25 for a table for two. Dine-in seats are limited. A full range of options can be found online. Tickets can be ordered and seats reserved online at https://www.onthestage.com/show/portsmouth-christian-academy/black-box-film-2021-15043/tickets.
Portsmouth Christian Academy has been inspiring students on the Seacoast to maximize their potential for forty years. PCA provides a nurturing educational environment that emphasizes Christ-centered community, outstanding academics, differentiated learning, and exceptional character. Located just minutes northwest of Portsmouth, NH on a beautiful fifty-acre riverfront campus, PCA is a dually accredited, independent, college-preparatory, day school where young people from Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire in Preschool through Grade 12 are challenged to thrive academically and grow as servant-leaders prepared to impact the world for good.