Opening night of spring drama production cancelled because of rain


Gina Long

OUTSIDE: Freshman Rosie Wolkind rehearsed a scene from ‘Bart’s Birthday Bash’ in the driveway of the Fialkov home. Four scenes were set outdoors, so rain cancelled Thursday’s opening night performance.

By Rebecca Navon, Staff Writer

Opening night of the student-produced spring drama production, Bart’s Birthday Bash, was cancelled yesterday afternoon because of expected rain, and the performance was rescheduled to 4:30 this Sunday, May 9.

It was the first time in Shalhevet history that any drama performance had been cancelled for any reason, made all the more ironic since this has been a year of historic drought.

Because there is no theater during construction of the school’s new building, this year’s play was designed as an “environmental performance,” set in a Beverly Hills home in rooms that the audience would walk around and observe.

The Fialkov family is lending its downstairs for four performances, and  Bart’s Birthday Bash has seven scenes, four of which take place outdoors.  The rest are inside the house, meaning members of the audience would be walking in and out and tracking mud.

“I was deeply reluctant to change the schedule,” said drama director Ms. Emily Chase after announcing the possible cancellation on Schoology. “People know that I believe it’s ethical and proper to stick to schedules and structure, so I was deeply torn. 

“The cautious part of me knew that a 50 percent chance of rain is too high, as the actors would be uncomfortable and in danger from wet lights. I also would never want to send home an audience halfway through.”

The rescheduled performance will conclude in time for actors to have a short break before a previously planned Sunday evening performance at 7 p.m.

Mrs. Chase said that it would be very impractical to hold the performance if it rains. 

“We have brought in two lights that are not weatherproof, and I am worried about what would happen if they were drizzled or rained upon,” Ms. Chase said. “Also, even if the audience used umbrellas, the actors can’t.”

The cancellation was a surprise for the actors, too.

“It’s something that Mrs. Chase usually doesn’t do,” said junior Shirel Benji. “It’s frustrating because we were hyped up to do it today.”

But Ms. Chase said everyone — actors, crew and ticketholders — had been understanding and supportive.

“The Shalhevet community is beautiful,” Ms. Chase said.

Rain was not the first setbacks for this year’s shows.  A freshman preview scheduled for yesterday, on Wednesday, May 6, was almost delayed when the bus broke down leaving 56 students with no way to get to the Fialkovs. 

Earlier this year, when freshmen were supposed to go to the preview of Biloxi Blues, the bus didn’t show up. That preview was cancelled.

This time, the students traveled by Uber.  After teachers explained what had happened, immediately excited students started ordering Ubers on their phones and were on their way to the play.

Related: No stage? No problem.  Drama invites audience to be flies on the wall at Bart’s Birthday Bash.