Throughout the past week, Theatre Northwest has been showing its first major play with loosened COVID-19 guidelines: “Clue,” a show based on the 1985 film, which is based on the classic board game. This year, all seats for the performances are open, and social distancing is not required. This also means that unlike last year, there is no virtual option to stream the show. Crew members are still required to wear masks, and actors wear clear plastic masks that are less visible on stage.
“The looser restrictions have been nice,” Assistant Director Krysta Ott said. “That being said, everyone elected to continue to wear a mask at rehearsal because if someone were to get sick, it could potentially mean they don't get to perform the show at all, depending on when they go into quarantine.”
Although the cast still has to wear masks during both rehearsals and performances, morale is better than last year. The main difference between theater last year and theater this year, Ott said, is that people are less worried about COVID-19 effects.
“While our department is still taking COVID-19 very seriously, because so many of us have been vaccinated, people are less scared to be in class or at rehearsal than they were before.”
Director Katheryn Bilbo wrote a few words in the play’s program about how “Clue” has been a joy to direct.
Ott agreed that the month of rehearsal was great. She said the actors brought their characters to life since day one, and they only improved throughout practices.
“As the assistant director, I was always rolling in my seat laughing,” Ott said. “Our technical crew did a wonderful job keeping up with transitions and cues, which has really made this show as smooth and clean as possible.”
The play takes place in one mansion, and the stage crew was able to create 11 different rooms by moving stage walls and adding and removing furniture.
“Staged in our smaller, more intimate black box theatre, you may feel as though you are inside Boddy Manor yourself,” Bilbo wrote in the program. “‘Clue’ is a production that exists simply for the sake of entertainment and a way to forget about one’s troubles for 90 minutes. It is our hope you will go home feeling upbeat and galvanized.”
The play’s opening night of Nov. 11 and the afternoon show Nov. 14 were full houses. The upcoming shows are in the Studio Theatre in the Ron Houston Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 and 19.