Act your heart out
November 16, 2018
While passionate about theatre, lead actress playing Miss Anne Frank in the Cathedral Catholic High School drama production of The Diary of Anne Frank, Mia Devins ‘20, never planned on originally auditioning.
“I’ve been a part of all of the shows in the time I have been here, but never in the main cast,” Devins said. “I wasn’t very sure about auditioning, but the process was actually so fun. Now, I’m just so invested in the play, and I am so happy I did it.”
The CCHS drama department’s fall production details the events of Miss Frank’s real diary, documenting her family’s experience as Jewish people hiding from the Nazi’s during World War II.
Having to adapt to the reality of playing historically accurate people, the smaller cast of 14 main members has had time to bond in order to best fill their roles.
“I see our actors being very invested in the characters and really taking the time to think about what the character would do here or how they would deliver their lines,” the CCHS drama teacher and play director Miss Katie Wilson said. “It’s so great to see how they’re all fitting together as one great cast.”
Beyond a basic overview in history class, the actors took the responsibility of educating themselves about the real life people behind the script.
“I honestly went a little crazy about it,” Devins said. “I just got this kick, and I went and researched everything I could find out about [Miss Frank] and her life that wasn’t in the script.”
During the time the cast rehearsed and played with character depth, the rest of its surroundings and design of the stage was being worked out by the drama tech department. The crew, taking on a large roll for the eventual schoolwide shows, designs and builds sets, supplies and moves props around the stage, takes care of hair and makeup, and sells concessions to the audience.
“Our department has many different crews,” head of the drama tech department Zia Simpson ‘19 said. “We take care of basically everything that isn’t the actors, physically.”
As people grow through the drama department, the dynamics of the cast change and grow as well. The CCHS graduating class of 2018 incuded students who have been a large part of the shows for multiple years, making this year a unique time for younger actors to shine.
“So many amazingly talented people graduated last year, and that has brought a new dynamic this year,” Devins said. “I have always been in ensemble, and so had my sister in the plays too. Now I have a new role to adapt to as a main part of the cast.”
The play’s lead cast is not only composed of rookies, but also of returning faces, such as Maksil Lorenzo ‘19, the lead in the CCHS 2018 fall production of Dead Man Walking.
“Performers with the most impressive audition are chosen for any show but are usually mostly seniors,” Lorenzo said. “Last year, the fall play leads consisted of all juniors and seniors, however, this cast is pretty diverse class-wise. Hopefully, it will broaden our audience and message with the play.”
While it might be looked upon as a scary and stressful process, actors must adjust themselves to the prospect of auditions for each and every play. The process consists of actors preparing a monologue, going through callbacks, and reading with different people so Miss Wilson can cast the roles.
“We found each of the characters very quickly, and we found all of the people who are very special in all of the roles that they have been cast in,” Miss Wilson said. “I think there are some really spectacular performances that will come from that from both experienced and inexperienced cast members.”
Lorenzo, a seasoned contributor to the drama productions, no longer sees auditions as a stressful time, but rather something to enjoy.
“I actually manage to make the process harder for myself,” Lorenzo said. “I write my own monologue based on the type that Miss Wilson requests which is not at all necessary.
“The rest of the process is familiar once I thankfully got the callback, and as always, Miss Wilson was professional and very supportive of everyone who auditioned.”
Similar to any sport, the motto “practice makes perfect” applies to the actors and the crew of drama tech as they must properly prepare the show for the final performances.
Rehearsals are nearly every day after school for a few hours, in which the cast runs through lines and scenes to fulfill the vision Miss Wilson has of the show. This practice does not include the homework of memorizing and practicing lines, according to Devins.
Drama tech stays hours after school as well, having to build each aspect of the set from a design by Mr. Matt Herman, who currently works on broadway.
“We put in a lot of hours outside of school coming in over breaks and over weekends if necessary,” Simpson said. “A lot of the set is actually repurposed from past productions, like mattresses and furniture, but the actual wooden bases need to be rebuilt.”
The passion put into the production will be on full display when the play opens on Nov. 16 at seven p.m. in the CCHS theatre.
“We all just love performing so much and have put so much effort and time in,” Devins said. “I can’t wait for everyone to see this amazing story on the stage.”