Imagine standing up in front of a crowd of peers and judges. The judges ask you to give them a taste of what you can do in two minutes, including singing a song, and while the tension in the crowd builds, more students prepare to mount the stage. This feeling is nothing new, as anyone trying out for anything can attest, especially in something as competitive as auditions for the winter play.
This year an unusually high number of students auditioned, many of whom are new to Deerfield’s theatre program and to theatre as a whole.
The winter play, “Dark of the Moon,” is no Pink Floyd album, but rather a folk song turned play by William Berney in the 1940’s. Director of Theater John Reese described the play as “the Romeo & Juliet in the Smokies,” and claimed it is often considered one of the great, classic American plays.
“I really don’t care what age someone is or what class they are in, or what kind of experience they have had. I base it on the quality of the auditions,” Mr. Reese said. He likes new people because they bring a fresh flavor to the production. If he gives all leads to juniors and seniors, the underclassmen will be left with no experience once the upperclassmen graduate.
After watching auditions and speaking with aspiring actors, the common theme was a desire for something new.
Michael Yee ’10 said, “I heard from friends that participated before, and they had a great time.” When asked why he chose theatre instead of a winter sport, he replied, “I did basketball last year, which was fun, but I wanted to try something new.”
New junior Phil Hah ’11 is fairly new to acting, like Yee. His goal this year is to try as many new things as possible. Hah acted at his previous school and loved it because “it lets you transform into a different person.” Hah also shared that if he didn’t get a part, he would give a shot at wrestling.
There are other reasons to audition beyond making friends and having a good time. Alfonso Velasco ’11 wants to be in the play because “I want to improve my English abilities by reading, studying, and memorizing in English.” In addition, he hopes to overcome his fear of public speaking.
While new actors shared that everyone at auditions was so good and that they didn’t think their audition went as well as they had hoped, each actor believed the experience would bring a new sense of self-confidence.
The returners are always excited to see new faces and talent. “I think that the new actors have potential, and it gets boring seeing the same people perform over and over again,” said veteran actor Camille Coppola ’10.
And you never know—any one of the potential winter play actors might go on to become the next Matthew Fox of Lost and carry the Deerfield name with them in their acting careers.
Dark of the Moon will run from Tuesday, February 16 to Saturday the 20th.