Reflecting on Luna by Diego Villegas, Advanced Learning Academy and CAST Tech Production Company

Reflecting on Luna

Diego Villegas, CAST Schools Marketing and Communications intern

April 6th, 2021

My name is Diego Villegas, and I am the Publicity Director for the Advanced Learning Academy and CAST Tech Theatre Production Company. I have been an actor and singer throughout high school, and have performed in numerous musicals and plays within the Advanced Learning Academy and CAST Tech Theatre Production Company. My experience involving the production of Luna has been a unique one – it was the first production I have been a part of that included masks, social distancing, and integrating virtual performances for those who could not participate in person.

How Luna – a live performance – was put together during a pandemic.

Production of Luna started the first week of December. Originally, a large portion of the cast and crew were still stuck behind screens on zoom. This made the early rehearsals a little bit more tricky. We had to adapt blocking and technical features to accommodate our projected actors. A real trick, however, was getting characters to interact between zoom. As a cast member who was originally projected on a screen, I can attest to the difficulty of this feat.

But as the weeks progressed the theatre became a hive of “busy bees” with many students volunteering their free time to help prepare scenic elements, soundtracks, and lighting. In fact, several members of our cast and crew stepped out of their computer screens and returned to in-person performance. This increase in activity brought back the early memories I had of pre – COVID-19 theatre.

Then came the week before production, where everyone’s nerves were on high, and we moved our production into the Guadalupe Theatre. It was tricky learning to adapt our movements and technical work to the stage of the Guadalupe, but it was also a learning experience. We learned that performing with masks and social distancing on a real stage required more dramatic movements and increased volume to display emotion through our masks. We learned to work with projectors and virtual actors. We learned to maximize our resources.

In the video above, you can see the stage, and how we used projectors to display the actor and actress who performed virtually. I also included some interviews with audience members and the cast and crew.

What Luna meant to me

Luna taught me that no matter what the circumstances are, a production company will always put on a show. It also taught me the importance of social interaction. I had not seen some of my fellow thespians for over a year, and seeing them reminded me of how important friendship is.

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The Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Network is a tax-exempt organization as described in Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. CAST Schools are partnership schools with a focus on STEM careers, project based learning and work-based learning. Key partners include public school districts, higher education institutions, and local employers from target industries.