School Arts Coming Back In Action!


Luis Melendez, Herald Writer

My name is Luis Melendez and I am currently a junior in Holyoke High School. I am a part of the Performing and Media Arts Academy. So, for me, the return of these art projects after a long gap due to COVID is quite exciting, and it motivates me to attend school every day. We couldn’t do any of the intriguing and entertaining things we could do in person since we were remote. We’ve returned in person and are eager to take over and work on these incredible new projects in a fun and safe environment. One of the most important parts of the arts is the plays that are performed within the theater company. This year there are a total of 2 plays, and possibly a talent showcase. We are hoping that everyone within the school follows the COVID protocols and rules so we are able to successfully do all three. Many new people have also joined us to work on these enjoyable projects, and we hope that more people will come out of their shells and join us not only in acting but also in makeup, costumes, lighting, sound, set building, and other areas.  


One of the exciting productions that is getting worked on at the moment and that I’m currently involved in is our fall play ”Low Budget High School play” written and directed by Alysha Izquierdo. Right now I am part of the cast, I’m playing the character Javier and I’m enjoying this production so much.This play takes a lot of work; students remain after school from Monday through Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., and it’s a long day, but I think everyone is doing well. Ms. Brunelle, the theater company’s director and theater instructor at HHS, has been working tirelessly to keep these activities alive, which demands extreme precaution. Even though a lot of things have changed as a result of Covid, I believe the arts and theater company are attempting to maintain as much normalcy as possible. For example, masks cannot be removed for this play, but acting usually involves a lot of facial expressions, and since masks cannot be removed, another solution has appeared in the form of using transparent masks instead of the normal masks. I believe that this show will be a huge success, and that everyone involved will be amazing. I hope that this is not the end of the theater company’s work, because there is much more to come.


This year, the theater group is also staging a student-written play, “At What Cost?” by Shane Bourgeois, for the annual competition play. Due to the fact that it must be a competitive play, this play requires a little more work. Except for a read-through in between theater classes, not much has been done with this play so far, but the script is well-written, and I’m excited to see it come to life! Because of personal reasons, I will not be participating in this play, but here is a brief description of “At What Cost?”  It’s set  in the revolutionary war, a guy named Thomas fights through the pain and the people he cares about keep dying, he doesn’t stop pushing himself until he goes too far and it doesn’t end well for him. There’s also awesome battle scenes. The Holyoke High Theater Company is working really hard to ensure that this and other plays are directed as securely as possible, and everyone will continue to work hard and persevere during these challenging times. 


I’m thrilled to see all of the awesome things that are beginning to revive in addition to sports. I, for one, would like to pursue acting as a career, and these lessons and academies would be quite beneficial in the future. I’ve been a part of four projects in my three years as a member of the Holyoke High School Theater Company, and I’m very proud of each of them. I believe that the arts at Holyoke High School should never stop providing these incredible opportunities for students who have a passion for this field, or for anyone who wants or needs to do something after school.