by REAGAN MOTSINGER
WESTFIELD, Ind. (Nov. 16, 2018) - The audience fell silent as an alarm suddenly cut through the auditorium. The first characters of This is a Test made their entrance.
This is a Test was one of two paranoia-themed one-act plays featured in the Westfield’s first rookie show, a second school play which offered less experienced actors the chance to perform.
“I was so happy [about getting my part] because I was discouraged about not getting into The Great Gatsby….but when I read the message from Mr. Grubb saying I had gotten the role of Evie, I was quick to figure out who it was, and I was really excited about it,” Cassidy Maymon (10) said.
This additional opportunity was beneficial to more than just the actors.
“[The actors] have a lot of potential,” stage manager Josie Jeffries (12) said. “[The rookie show] was a really good opportunity for Mrs. Adams and Mr. Grubb to see who all they could work with best, to see who all these new people were going to be, and who they could potentially put in more shows.”
The cast of the second performance of the night, The Actor’s Nightmare, originally took the show to a theatre festival in Indianapolis, but its last performance was saved for the actors’ home stage. Though most of the cast members were more experienced than the cast of This is a Test, even they felt the familiar audition nerves.
“I was the last person to audition, and I was auditioning right before tennis practice, so it wasn’t the smoothest, so I actually was quite surprised that I got a role in the show,” Rachel Waller (11) said. “Even though I’m a small part, I’m still really excited to be a part of it because it’s a fun part, and I get to eat custard.”
No matter the size of the role, the show brought unique experiences to the cast. Thespian officers in the cast of The Actor’s Nightmare also served as student directors for This is a Test when they were not rehearsing. While the student directors were tough, the actors they directed appreciated their feedback.
“I’ve never had a lead role in something where you had to act more than you had to sing,” Cole Wolfe (9) said. “I’ve done some school musicals where I’ve sung before, but this is the first play that I’ve done where I’ve had a major speaking part, and it taught me a lot…especially how to take hard notes, because they went in hard.”
After getting to know the storyline, Wolfe worked the most on line memorization and character development. He took each note into consideration with the hope of giving his best possible performance.
“It’s...those small things that really turn an okay show into a great show,” Wolfe said.
For Jeffries, those little details showed the cast’s growth throughout the rehearsal process. She enjoyed watching the actors improve and getting to know them better as time went on.
“I was here when [the cast] started out….I think [they] have all grown in [their] own way, and I do look forward to seeing the last show,” Jeffries said.
The casts of both shows drew closer and forged friendships as they worked together. In the case of The Actor’s Nightmare, many of the cast members were already close, so they created even more memories together.
“It was my birthday during our third competition day, and it was really fun because the cast and I are really close, and we all went out to dinner at Buca di Beppo together,” Waller said. “It was a great seventeenth birthday for me.”