Queen’s Players enter ‘The Twilight Zoom’

Comedy troupe returns with another digital show

The Queen’s Players return to the screen.
Screenshot from Youtube

After successfully transitioning their winter show from stage to screen, The Queen’s Players (QP) are back with a new show written and directed specifically for the Zoom platform. 

According to two QP members, the group’s second foray into digital theatre allowed the group to smooth out some of the rough edges that challenged them in their previous production.

The Journal spoke to Harry Meddings, Eng ’21, writer and actor, and Heather Lundrigan, ArtSci ’20, director, about creating and performing The Twilight Zoom.

“I was a producer on the winter show that got cancelled […] so I got to see the way that the shift to Zoom was done before,” Lundrigan said, referring to The Tonight Showhemian Rhapsody, which was originally scheduled for March at The Mansion but had to be moved to July over Zoom because of the pandemic.

“We tried to make improvements on it,” she continued. “I don’t know if we did, but we definitely tried to take what we learned from the last show and move it into this show.”

Unlike the revived winter show, which had to be adapted for Zoom, The Twilight Zoom—as the name suggests—was conceived as a Zoom production from start to finish, which was a major advantage for QP. 

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“This time, we knew what to expect a little more. We understood what things would and wouldn’t translate to an online platform because the last show was rehearsed, and built, and written entirely in-person, and then this show was built and rehearsed entirely on an online platform,” Lundrigan said.

One benefit of staging the show for Zoom was being able to seamlessly integrate video content into the live production, she explained.

“The whole concept was we know that we’re going to be on Zoom, we know that the characters are going to be able to pop in and out, and also, in that sense, we knew that we could pre-record some things.”

Lundigran provided an example.

“There’s a scene where they do a spoof on the cell block tango from Chicago. Originally, we weren’t going to pre-record that scene, we were just going to have the actors do it live because that’s more fun for them, but then we realized it [was] actually going to be a better scene if we pre-recorded it.”

While Lundigran pointed out some of the more convenient elements of an online show, Meddings highlighted how radically different live and online shows are.

“When you’re doing a live show, it’s understood by the cast that a lot of the story won’ t necessarily be followed by the audience just because of the environment we’re in,” Meddings said.

The environment he refers to is The Mansion in a time before COVID-19 when a drunk and rowdy audience attended The Player’s shows rather than tuning in on their computers.

“It was a really interesting opportunity to actually spend a lot of time making sure the script was really good and really fun. We did run into some hiccups. Learning choreography over Zoom is definitely not the easiest thing,” he said.

In some ways, performing over the internet is more daunting than performing in-person, especially if your show is a comedy.

“You get no interaction from the audience when you’re doing a Zoom show really, unless you’re reading the live stream chat. So, it’s a lot of us making jokes and then having nobody laugh at them. You just have to have confidence in what you’re bringing to the screen.”

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