Digging Up the Secrets Behind “The Hitchhiker”


Photo courtesy of Pixaby. Running picture of a hitchhiker above was used by Silver Creek Drama while broadcasting The Hitchhiker on YouTube. Since last fall when the fall play Maybe Baby, It’s You, the Silver Creek Drama community hasn’t performed another show until now. That was until the drama teacher/ play director, James Holtz, decided to direct a live radio broadcast. “This year did not look like a promising year to do a theatrical performance, at least in the conventional sense…” said James Holtz. “I knew I still wanted to do something”.

Madelyn Bowling-Garcia, Staff Writer

On Friday, December 4th, 2020, the talented Silver Creek theatre group performed a live radio performance of The Hitchhiker. The story of a driver attempting to get home, but continually see’s a hitchhiker on the side of the road. The story follows the eerie correlation in between them. Famously known from an episode of The Twilight Zone, a 1959 anthology series following horror, science fiction, drama, superstition, and a comedy short stories. Being safely socially distant, the experience for the actors and directors were completely different compared to previous years. 

This past spring, our school’s musical, Little Shop of Horrors, the story of Seymour Krelborn growing a human-eating plant in his little town, was canceled due to COVID shutting down St. Vrain Valley Schools. Aspiring theatre actors and actresses amongst the Silver Creek community were disappointed. Even with social distancing and masks, it would still be dangerous for in-person performances. 

Not giving up hope, the theatre director at Silver Creek, James Holtz, was determined to find some way to bring the community back to life. After countless ideas, from podcasts or a huge WebEx, a virtual meeting platform, they finally decided on a WebEx call. Taking it up with administrators at the school, they were pumped to bring back theatre and from the safety of our own homes. 

James Holtz, the director of the performance, talked about the technical setup behind the show. As for everyone, this was new territory to breakdown, so everyone involved was learning on the way. “It was all new to me”, said James Holtz. “so I had to learn how to do that [set up livestream]…[this year] has been really hard for me because as a director, this is such a foreign environment”. After getting to a comfortable spot in this situation, they figured out how the show would play out. The cast members, sound operators, and Holtz were all in one WebEx room. Everyone would go about as normal, and Holtz kept his microphone unmute, so the sound would pump into the computer, where the broadcast was coming from.

Both cast members had to be cautious of their surroundings and be prepared for internet problems. “We knew someone’s internet could go out or someone might have a dog bark in the background,” said Holtz. Of course, prepared for the worst, they came up with a solution. “We had a universal understudy…she was told if anyone disappears from the Webex, she’s that person”. 

Despite the environment changing, cast members involved with the show were stoked to hear theatre was getting a comeback. Just as important as sports here at Silver Creek, it’s important to keep students’ schedules as close to normal. Theatre is as important to actors as sports is to athletes. It’s tough times for everyone, but it’s important to keep aspects within the school alive.  

Kaitlin Ruth, a sophomore at Silver Creek, played the main role of Anne Adams, the driver of the story. She’s had experience with previous shows, so with her experience, Kaitlin justified the importance of theatre coming back. “Theatre and other arts programs are often skipped over and they’re some of the most interesting programs the school has to offer!” said Ruth. “Theatre gives so many people a unique way to express themselves”. There are situations around every problem, and the theatre company at Creek found its way around. 

After a successful show, with little to no technical difficulties, Madeline Legg, a junior at Silver Creek who played Operator 1, was asked if she’d want another performance such as one to take place in the spring. “I do want to do something like this again,” said Madeline Legg. “I would want to include more students. Maybe have original art for the screen and live picture. It would also be cool to have music written by a student”. With the many talented students at Silver Creek, there isn’t any doubt an actual live video isn’t as far fetched.

Fortunately, with the show being digital, anyone can re-watch the show at the click of a button. If community members missed the performance of The Hitchhiker, they can go to James Holtz on Youtube where the recorded broadcast can be found. If readers have an Instagram account, they can follow Silvercreek.drama for updates on upcoming events. Congratulations to everyone who participated in The Hitchhiker on a very successful performance. The Silver Creek community can’t wait to see what else the theatre company has in store.