Lukas Trelease ‘20 has always been interested in the art of story-telling. From a young age, Trelease began exploring his interest in writing and theater, whether through writing novels about adventures his cat would go on or creating plays with his stuffed animals.
At Deerfield, Trelease participates in the arts as a member of Albany Road and the theater program. His interest in theater first cemented when he participated in the annual theater production for freshman in Bement and went on the explore theater at a summer camp in Maine. Trelease has acted in a total of nine productions at Deerfield, with the most recent children’s musical How I Became a Pirate written by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman marking as his tenth production.
For Trelease, theater brings to life the power of story-telling, which is especially apparent in How I Became a Pirate, which was written and will be mainly performed for children.
“One of the reasons I do theater is to show other people stories, especially children, because it’s a really formative time for them. Seeing the magic that theater provides is powerful,” Trelease said.
Trelease also relates story-telling to the power of empathizing with others, a skill that remains constantly relevant and significant in society.
“Theater really hones the skill of empathy. Being able to empathize with different characters being put in different situations that I otherwise could not relate to is really fulfilling and important,” Trelease said.
Following the importance of empathy, Trelease first approaches a new work of theater by thoroughly and diligently studying its background and his character.
“When approaching something new, Lukas leaves no stone unturned when finding nuance in characters. He’s methodical, professional, and really smart, voracious in his appetite to gain as many details in the work of the play,” described Visual and Performing Arts Teacher and Theater Director Catriona Hynds, Trelease’s teacher and theater director.
Even in the face of challenges, Trelease approaches a character in the same diligent manner, digging deep to be able to empathize with them. When asked about his greatest achievement and his greatest challenge, he describes playing an old German man last year and the process he took to study his character’s history and mannerisms for the fall performance of Twelve Angry Jurors.
“I’ve never played an old person, but then I started looking at my older teacher and tried to imitate their actions, such as if they moved their arm a specific way or if they put emphasis on a certain body part, like a slightly bad hip or the way their back arched. I also watched speeches of the chancellor of Germany to imitate the accent,” said Trelease.
In theater, Trelease has worked on building the set in addition to acting. In his sophomore year, he was the assistant set designer for the fall production You Can’t Take it With You.
“It’s really valuable to not just act, but to also build it and appreciate the intricacies and hard work that goes into a production,”explained Trelease.
According to Mrs. Hynds, Trelease also has an eye to directing due to his wide insight in theater.
“He has a director’s vision; he sees a production in the big picture as well as on a granular level,” said Mrs. Hynds.
In the future, Trelease hopes to continue exploring his passion for story-telling though he doesn’t plan to pursue a professional career in acting.
“Art is seeing the magic in daily life, to be able to dream. I want to be able to provide that through the arts for the rest of my life,” said Trelease.