All Together Now: A Collaborative Victory

How different school theatre departments came together for the first time since the pandemic to create a powerful production


Natasha Visnack , Co-Editor-in-Chief

Soft orange lighting dims, and audience members quiet as they lean back in their grey velvet seats. The soothing grey upholstered, warm wooden walls of the Caldera High School Auditorium are suddenly bathed in an electric blue light as the thick curtains part.

The hour that followed embodied the title of the production. All Together Now, performed on November 12th and 13th at the newly opened Caldera High School, marked both the creation of a new theatre troupe and a revival of an existing community. The play was a partnership between Summit High School, Mountain View High School and Caldera High School theatre departments under the direction of Summit theatre director Laura Okomoto and Mountain View and Caldera theatre director Lindsay Nickerson. During the hour-long program, the three schools presented a host of musical numbers ranging from “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables to “We’re All in this Together” from High School Musical. Solos and duets balanced out larger department-specific numbers, while the opening and closing numbers -“Be Our Guest” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat”- dazzled audience members with uplifting ensemble pieces.

The success of this production marks a decidedly optimistic start to Caldera’s theatre department. As the group’s first play, All Together Now was a victory, with many members of the Caldera student body captivating viewers in “Supercalifragilisticexpialdocious” while others supported behind the scenes or from the audience.

“They were super energetic, and it was super fun to watch,” said audience member and Caldera Freshman Kylee Gerome.

Beyond being a success for the new high school, All Together Now also gave the existing high school theatre community a long-awaited opportunity to reconnect. Performers especially were ecstatic to be a part of the first in-person live play in almost two years.

“It was really amazing,” said Summit freshman Maddie Pallmbo. “We got to see everyone come together for this thing, the first thing we’ve been able to do since quarantine.”

MC and Summit theatre department president Sienna Swetland reflected on the long period away from the stage during her speeches.

“So many students were sent home not knowing when they could come back to class and if they ever could finish the projects they had started,” Swetland said. “It’s not until we lose the things we love that we realize how meaningful they have been to us.”

Swetland explained that she was working on a play when the pandemic first hit in March 2020. The production was halted halfway through production.

“It felt like we never truly got closure for it,” Swetland said.

Summit senior and All Together Now cast member Becky Knight was part of the same production as Swetland. She found that All Together Now was a great way to end such a long break from the stage.

“It’s been really fun to do something this cohesive after being apart for so long,” Knight said.

Many audience members shared similar experiences.

“It was absolutely surreal, to be honest,” said Mountain View theatre department alumni Eryn Bartz. “I’m really excited that it’s back.”

Despite the hardships that the pandemic forced upon the theatre community, the various high school troupes around Bend have come together to kick off the start to a return to normalcy.

“I think if I’ve learned anything this past year and a half, it’s that we really are all in this together,” Swetland said.