‘WCKY’ to be first play with in-person audience since pandemic

Eighth-grader and assistant director Chad Salmon prepares for the upcoming production. (Photo by Zoe Wright)

The high school play “WCKY” will be staged Nov. 18-20, making it the first high school play performed in person since 2019.

Theatre teacher and director of “WCKY” Rebecca Rhinehart said the play will be performed Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Schottenstein Theatre. Tickets can be purchased on the Bexley Theatre Arts website. Members of the audience will still be required to wear masks and sit three feet away from others.

Rhinehart described “WCKY” as a murder mystery that takes place on New Year’s Eve of 1939. A new radio station is about to air their live opening show. The actors are worrying about preparing the show, and tensions are running high. However, as soon as they go on air, a murder occurs. The police show up to investigate, but the rest of the cast has to continue worrying about the show, Rhinehart explained.

Rhinehart said that she chose the show for its light-hearted feel. She wanted to steer away from performing a show that covers heavier topics, like “Failure: A Love Story,” the high school musical performed in the spring of 2020. Additionally, Rhinehart noted that the play is unique because of its abundance of parts.

“I wanted to do something where a lot of us can be together in rehearsals,” Rhinehart said. “A lot of the parts are pretty equal and are fun characters to play.”

This play also has a great ensemble feel, Rhinehart added, and it has been wonderful to work on with students.

Performers have only had to maintain three feet of distance instead of six since the spring, when the CDC declared this in March 2021. Rhinehart said this has given students an opportunity to connect more.

“It’s just been really nice being with the students in the same room collaborating,” Rhinehart said. “They’re putting a ton into their characters and really giving them their own personalities.”

Senior Lin McDow said because most of the theatre productions occurred on Zoom for the 2020-21 school year, the actors and actresses have had to undergo some transitions.

“Acting with your torso versus acting with your whole body is a very different experience,” McDow said. “So that’s been a challenge with getting people to fully do physicalities.”

Junior Rylee Barno explained that the theatre department faced challenges while acting over Zoom.

“It’s a little hard to be expressive because you are only seeing someone’s eyes,” Barno said. “It sucks that I can’t have the bottom half of my face to express what I am trying to convey.”

Barno said after rehearsing in masks, many of the actors have been able to practice alternative ways of acting with their faces, which will benefit their performing in the future.

Rhinehart said she is enthusiastic for the show, and McDow and Barno agreed that the majority of the other performers have appreciated being able to participate in theatre in person again.

“I can’t wait to have a full audience and feel that energy of them watching the show and laughing together,” Rhinehart said.