Southold School District

Southold Drama Club production going virtual this weekend

Last spring, students in the drama club at Southold High School took their final bows as a production of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” closed March 8.

“We struck the set that Sunday and three days later we were basically told we were going to be taking a two-week leave that turned into several months,” recalled Casey Rooney, who runs the drama club with fellow English teacher Jessica Ellwood.

The timing was lucky for the group, who faced a very different set of circumstances when they regrouped in September. But Mr. Rooney and Ms. Ellwood, along with their students, were determined to salvage what they could. 

“I couldn’t stand the idea of them not having a show this year.”

Casey Rooney

With health restrictions making it not feasible to stage a play before a live audience, the club has decided to present a virtual performance of the play “Our Place.”

“It would just be such a shame to not be able to provide some kind of theatrical experience for these kids,” Ms. Ellwood said.

Searching for a production presented its own challenges, including a play that didn’t require a large cast and one with a short runtime. 

“We didn’t know how much time we were going to have [to rehearse],” Ms. Ellwood said. “We didn’t know when — or if — we were going to get shut down.”

The one-act dramatic comedy by Terry Wayne Gabbard tells five different stories that connect to one unassuming location of a dock on a small lake.

According to Mr. Rooney, the production was rehearsed in small groups based on cohorts, since the high school is currently operating under a virtual and in-person hybrid model. 

The staged performance was then filmed from multiple angles by members of the SOHO TV crew, which is adding some final editing touches before the premiere.

Mr. Rooney said they were determined to perform this fall and are also aiming to continue the tradition of performing a musical in the spring.

“[The administration] would like any program that can run to run. Kids need things to do,” Mr. Rooney said. “I couldn’t stand the idea of them not having a show this year.”

The prerecorded live stream will air at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, and Saturday, Dec. 12. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at