Art During the Pandemic

Mercer Stauch, Journalist

On May 7th and 8th at 7:00pm MST, the movie-style Little Shop of Horrors premiered on Showtix4u, featuring Niwot students in every aspect of the production. 


Little Shop of Horrors is campy 60s/70s/80s mock-horror show about a jerk and his man-eating plant. But under that layer, it’s a story about which sides of ourself we decide to feed, and how having confidence in yourself is worth more than having a Harley Davidson motorcycle, no matter how cool you think it looks. 


We’re extremely happy with the product we’ve created. 


But to get to that point, we’ve had to leap more than a couple hurdles. As with everything this year, pretty much everything about the status of the musical was unknown until the last possible second. Our original plan for this year was to produce Big Fish, a large-scale Wizard-of-Oz-esque epic that had the potential to go down as one of the most visually impressive shows to grace the Niwot stage. Students excited to audition spent the majority of this year with no clue what was going to happen; and Mrs. Foulke didn’t have much more information than we did. 


Learning that we would be changing shows to Little Shop came as news about two weeks before auditions. Everyone was thrilled we’d have an opportunity to make art this year in some semblance of normalcy. The audition process, especially for me, brought back so much passion for theater that students had forgotten about through quarantine. 


Then, on the first day of rehearsal, we got some news: Mrs. Foulke and her family would be looking to pursue new creative opportunities, and wouldn’t be able to direct the show. 


It’s difficult to describe the mood of the room after that. I personally felt like the sadness that we’d be saying goodbye to such an inspirational figure was cancelled out by the vicarious happiness we felt for her and her exciting future. We saved our tears for the goodbye party, and then looked forward to making Little Shop the best production it could possibly be, as a sort of tribute to how much Mrs. Foulke taught us and revolutionized the program. 


I attribute that cause to the fact that as a cast, we worked harder than we ever have. Off-book day went flawlessly (which, in my extensive experience, NEVER happens) and every cast member has contributed more insight, energy, and time to this show than any other I’ve been in. Even when the two leads and two student directors got quarantined from school, positivity stayed high, and Ms. Walters couldn’t help but marvel that “we [were] in really, really good shape” despite the situation. 


The cast is so grateful for one another and for directors Ms. Walters, Mr. Watkins, Ms. Mouw, Ms. Claire Steeno, Ms. Piquette, and the whole tech team for helping us put together this show. It’s unlike anything any of us have ever done, but was worth every ounce of energy.  


Hopefully Little Shop can stand as a reminder that the pandemic can’t prevent everything that fulfills us as students. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and the world hasn’t yet been taken over by carnivorous flytraps.