From Theatre to Film: Local Drama Club Transitions Amidst Pandemic

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A local homeschool drama club cancelled their performance season for the second year in a row due to the pandemic. But, rather than give up all together, they adapted by making a film.

“We have no idea what the future is going to look like,” said Brenna Sniatecki, HSA Drama Club Director. “So, we said, ‘Okay, let’s assume that nothing is going to change. What can we do within these parameters?'”

The Home School Drama Academy needed a script under public domain to avoid copyright issues while filming. As a result, the club selected Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Michael Berthin, a now-graduated senior, said playing Marc Antony was a blast at the start, but had some challenges.

“I had to start memorizing some of the language that Shakespeare used, and it was suddenly a lot less fun,” said Berthin.

But, even with COVID precautions during the creation of the film, Berthin said it was great have the interaction.

“It was awesome because I really couldn’t see a whole lot of people outside my job,” said Berthin. “At home I was already really not seeing anybody, my sports got shut down, so being able to go and do stuff with other people was awesome, I loved it.”

Sniatecki said this was a huge motivation to persevere during the process.

“That is the thing that kept me going. Thinking about them and just the experiences that they missed out on over the past year,” said Sniatecki.

This year’s cast also included Lydia Prouty, who has been in 17 of the program’s productions. Although she graduated in 2020, she returned for the film this year because last year’s production was also cancelled.

“It’s definitely different, it’s a different feel. I’ve enjoyed it because it’s kind of cool to do this, and I can be more subtle in the acting,” said Prouty who plays Lucius.

The film was shot in many locations around the City of Rochester including parks and even in community members’ homes.

“The community support we had in unexpected ways was just amazing,” said Sniatecki.

The director also said she’s proud to provide a valuable extracurricular for homeschooled students.

“Having this available for any homeschooling family I think is really important, so I’m glad to be a part of it,” said Sniatecki.

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