The Show Must Go On: An Interview with Justine Torres

A sneak peak into this years Drama Club production

Justine Torres, 11, is a stage manager this year helping produce the Drama Club Virtual Film, Human Interaction: A Devised Work.

Justine Torres, 11, is a stage manager this year helping produce the Drama Club Virtual Film, Human Interaction: A Devised Work.

Sabrina Portnoy, Bear Hub Staff

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Justine Torres, a junior of East Brunswick High School, to learn more about the Drama Club’s virtual film Human Interaction: A Devised Work. Justine is a stage manager and along with the rest of the cast and crew, she has helped adapt the play into a virtual film. She looks forward to when people can view the blood, sweat, and tears that the Drama Club has put into the film. She is truly proud of how far they have come and the hard work and dedication everyone has put in.



A: I miss hanging out with the castmates and the crew and just generally everyone like before and during rehearsals. I miss that connection you can only have in person and it’s really hard to do it over the virtual meeting because only one person has to be able to talk at a time so you aren’t able to joke around on the side because everyone can hear it and it’s on the phone so it’s not like as personal or fun honestly.



A: It’s been rough! Oh god, it is rough! Like of course theater is going to be hit the hardest because it is an in-person event and much of it is just interacting with each other at a normal distance as you would day to day, but repeatedly. So it’s been much different because rather than doing a stage production that we are used to doing, we have opted to do a film production as an alternative; this entails that some members can’t be included. We have given the actors the choice of do they want to be filmed outside and do a scene with another person, or if they want to do a solo scene and they can just record it on their phone and just send that in. And it’s been, for a lack of better words, very difficult because with the in-person you can keep up right away and it’s easier to get in person, however, online you can’t exactly have that specific direction that you get on stage. Also, you have to do it one time and then send that in and then get feedback on it rather than on stage where you can just get feedback on it in seconds.



A: Okay so our original plan had been just to film a play that we had chosen, just a series of small plays. However, JD had given us the option like “hey why don’t we do a devised writing where we can include this aspect of improv that we do on stage and that can be the basis of this whole thing. And we’ll give you a theme, you improve it, we’ll make a

Mr. Davis (left), Drama Club director, Ian Clark (center), 12, and Mr. McMenamin (right), videographer, stare intently into the video camera to capture the perfect shot.

script around that, and then we film that scene and have a bunch of small scenes like that.” So that was the closest we were able to give the actors to something like the stage, but they still had the option of doing a normal play. They all voted to do a devised writing, as we call it. Now, rather than before where Emily, Jessie, and I, the stage managers, were backstage just making sure everything is in line, we now have to serve as crew for the filming which is much different because one of is doing the clapboard while Ian is behind the camera, rather than in the light booth or sound booth. One of us is holding up an entire boom pole which is just a long pole with a mic at the end of it. We have to hold that high above our heads in the direction of the actor and tilt it to whoever is acting and I’m telling you, when you’re in the cold with your arms up above your head, twisting the pole ever so slightly, and the scene is going on for eight minutes, your arms get jacked. They get jacked and they get sore. It’s funny because I didn’t anticipate the change becoming so much more physical when we switched over because of Covid.



A: I am most excited about 2 things. One the B- roll because honestly, it is hard to show how the actors are when the cameras are on and off. The difference in their character in the film versus how they are in real life is just so fun to see and with how everything is, I feel like it will be a nice dose of happiness to help people feel better, especially since our topic is human interaction and much of it delves on the consequences that we all have to endure because of the pandemic. That leads into the second thing I am excited for which is the variety the fill brings. It is not necessarily just about how we have had to deal with the pandemic. There are other things about the tolls of friendship, how friendships have changed throughout this whole process, and even just normal ones of just family dysfunctionality or siblings reuniting. It’s such simple things like that that I hope will help other people see what other problems life used to have and also how life has been for some people while they themselves may not have endured it.

Dedication, Perseverance, and Creativity; all words that describe the Drama Club cast, directors, and crew. Justine acknowledges how difficult this past year has been and hopes that the film can bring everyone together and hopefully put a smile on a few faces as it has on hers.