Adapting to Change: the Kaleidoscope Project

Jonas Dargis '22, Sports and Entertainment Editor

This year, due to COVID-19 regulations, the fall and winter productions had to be canceled. Both would normally take place during the Fall semester. Mr. Arndt, head of the theatre department at Saint Patrick, devised a creative way to make up for the two cancellations: The Kaleidoscope Project. “Art reflects our lives and our world around us, so The Kaleidoscope Project reflects the moment in which we find ourselves.” This year, the productions weren’t presented in the same way as usual. Rather, students explored video performances and performing to Zoom audiences. 

The inspiration for this project came from the disconnected atmosphere we live in now. “Our reality is so fractured right now, and the beauty of our lives is going unnoticed,” said Mr. Arndt. Each group of performers created a piece, five to eight minutes long. Each segment was put on by two to three students. The theatre department also put together two groups of technical and set design students for the performance. Each piece was completely unique from the others, while all connecting to the Kaleidoscope theme. 

There were a variety of different subjects in the production – musicians and improvisers, mixed in with parodies of popular films such as Star Wars and Blues Brothers, rounded out by “moments of truly dramatic honesty and truth.” Students performed extreme scenes of anger, others escapist comedy and still others how the pandemic has directly impacted them. Mr. Arndt’s goal was to show “the hope in the heart of these performances … hope that we will be able to make it through this pandemic.” 

Despite its challenges, the production lived up to Saint Patrick’s reputation for exceptional shows. The production gave performers an opportunity to express themselves after being coupled up in lockdown. Ryan Emperado ’22 spoke to these challenges. “I think the overall mental health part of quarantine was my biggest problem because being stuck at home not being able to do anything during the day or go see people was just exhausting,” he said. Ryan felt the Kaleidoscope production gave him an outlet to overcome those obstacles. 

“The Kaleidoscope Project really helped me recover from that time, and I think people needed it too,” he shared. “Even if you weren’t involved in theatre, we needed something to feel normal again. The Kaleidoscope Project brought that back.”