Despite the current circumstances brought by the pandemic, the Concord Academy Performing Arts Department is still putting on a Winter Mainstage performance. Zachary Tung ’22, who plays a role in the upcoming show, has a lot to share about how this winter’s performance will look.
This winter, the theatre department is putting on the show Baltimore. “The show is about a group of kids, and some of them are white, and some are people of color,” says Zachary. “It is an exploration of their relationships and the power dynamics in a school setting, as well as a real-world setting.”
In the show, Zachary plays Gray, who is originally a Korean girl named Grace. However, the playwright was generous enough to do rewrites in the script to allow Zachary to play this character. “Gray often does not feel seen because his best friend, Shelby, who is the main character, makes all of these assumptions about him because he is Asian,” says Zachary. “Shelby thinks that Gray comes from a place of privilege when, in reality, he doesn’t. Gray doesn’t feel fully seen by Shelby, which causes tension in their friendship.”
Zachary feels that he can relate to his character to some extent. “As someone who is both Chinese and mixed, there has always been a struggle in my life to have to pick a side and identify with one culture more than the other,” Zachary shares. “I don’t identify with one or the other, but I go to a majority-white school in a majority-white state and country. I get immersed in my white side, distancing me from my Asian identity. I think that like Gray, I have also struggled to be seen, but not on the same level as him.”
Even though CA is putting on a Winter Mainstage, it will look much different from previous years in order to keep all the participants safe and healthy. Instead of performing in the Performing Arts Center at CA, actors will do so from their own homes. “They’re going to be sending us a green screen and some pins to put on our wall,” says Zachary. “The show is going to be recorded, and the director wants us to be able to stand up and walk around so that our whole bodies can be seen.” Additionally, the rehearsal schedule is less of a commitment than before. “The schedule is pretty manageable because if we were all on campus, rehearsals would be from 3:30-6:30, and we could be called anytime during that period,” shares Zachary. “However, now, Monday through Thursday, it goes from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and on Fridays, it runs from 2:30-4:30.”
Despite these changes, Zachary is still grateful to be able to participate in the show. “I’m super excited to be a part of this show, and rehearsals provide me with an escape from all of the stressors in my life,” says Zachary. Baltimore’s cast and crew have been working hard to make this show a success, and we look forward to watching their performance when it premieres over Zoom in February.