Director: Anne Willhoit, Cast and script: Odyssey Students, Technical Support: Keith Doughty
What was your inspiration for this piece?
When presented with the annual tradition of putting together a spring performance, the students chose to write and perform an audio play about their "covid life." With gathered artifacts, original writing, sound recording, and a new knowledge of editing, they captured both the stress and the hidden joys that have been these past difficult months. It was really important to the students to tell the story of covid-19 from their perspective. During the process, I was struck by how every piece of news landed differently with kids than in our adult minds. Every school closure, every change in the community was a shock and a surprise to them.
Tell us about the creation process including any obstacles overcome or surprises.
You're Muted was a true collaboration. The students were already strong writers and they grew into further roles as actors and editors. They had already been spontaneously saving things that would become artifacts - even before we had the idea to create an original script! Saved chats from Zoom, notes from teachers, assignments, emails and even virtual birthday invitations became part of the quilt that would be our script. Every student contributed original writing - letters to their future selves about this time - and worked together to edit each other's work during genuine, collegial conversations. I watched them remarkably respect each other's ideas while encouraging change and creativity. We were grateful to BARN volunteer, Keith Doughty, for teaching us the ways of editing and guiding students to become independent using the tools and tech.