A Digital Debut for the Upper School Fall Play

To say that this year’s fall play was a show unlike any other would be an understatement. From wearing masks in rehearsals and throughout recordings to staging a show that allows for social distancing, this year’s cast and crew of “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” put their creativity to the test. The final product was a virtual tour de force that put the talents of Ellis' Upper School students center stage.
A play by Anne Washburn, “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” speculates on our culture's love of storytelling in times of disaster. The first act finds a band of post-apocalyptic survivors huddled in the woods, comforting each other by retelling episodes of the Simpsons. Act II is set seven years after that and sees those same characters making careers as Simpsons re-enactors. The final act takes us seventy-five years into the future, where the cartoon family's story has evolved into a mystical passion play.

Ellis’ production was directed by Visual Arts Teacher Tim Israel and featured a mix of dramatic readings, pre-recorded music, and staged action by the cast. Its unvarnished nature reflected our own current predicament, and our indomitable yearning to continue telling stories.

The show debuted via a one-time-only digital broadcast on Friday, October 30. To celebrate the premiere, the cast and crew gathered at Ellis for a watch party where they walked “the green carpet” in formal wear and toasted with sparkling juice before watching the debut together. Afterward, they participated in a live stream discussion on Zoom with the night’s audience to discuss the making of the production. 

While this year’s fall play had to be produced in a new fashion, Ellis students and faculty producers rose to the occasion and delivered a production that will go down in school history. “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” is proof that no matter the circumstances—the show must go on.