Wilona Wiafe ’21 is a tour guide at the Von Auersperg Gallery, creator of YouTube videos, and lover of aesthetics. Particularly, she is an active and inspiring force in the Deerfield Theater program, with an eye for artistic marketing.
Wiafe entered Deerfield as an experienced actor, but discovered a deeper interest in theater through her first Deerfield production, You Can’t Take it With You. She recounted the fear that came with auditioning for the play as a ninth-grader, but also the rich world of passion, growth, and friendship that theater provided her with. Since her debut performance, Wiafe has been involved in almost every Deerfield production as an actor or stage manager.
Having played a variety of characters during her time at Deerfield, Wiafe fondly remembers her role in Big Love, in which she played a grandmother. “I had to learn an Italian accent which I had never really done before…it involved throwing tomatoes on the floor, too,” Wiafe said. Her role in the Spring Musical Revue was the first to truly push her out of her comfort zone, where she rapped Hamilton’s “My Shot” as a soloist.
Maddie Wasson ’18, who worked alongside Wiafe as a ninth-grader, said, “[Wilona] frequently made bold character choices and offered a sense of vulnerability in the rehearsal room that only grew with every single performance that she’s done since. She jumped into our little community with confidence, maturity, and so much creativity.”
Director of Theater Catriona Hynds described the many ways in which Wiafe has contributed to the spirit of theater at Deerfield, including her optimism and unwavering kindness. “She has this seemingly endless joviality to her that draws people to her,” said Mrs. Hynds. “She’s good at binding a company together…I could truly run out of superlatives to use about her positive character.”
In the past months of quarantine, Wiafe observed the dominating presence of social media in society. She became fascinated with the aesthetics of marketing and how businesses utilize artistic principles to draw people’s attention. “I’ve been thinking a lot about the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, and how this type of art marketing relates to consumerism,” said Wiafe. “Why might a person be attracted to this product but not another product?”
This fall, Wiafe is the stage manager of Frankenstein. She explained that she took on this pursuit not only because of her experience managing Antigone, but also because her recent interest in art marketing allowed her to step outside her role as an actor to view a production from a more critical perspective.
Wiafe is determined to include acting in her future, though the specifics are unclear. She hopes to major in something related to Media Communications, and potentially minor in Business Administration, with small acting gigs here and there. Wiafe said, “Acting is usually always a part of someone’s life, whether it’s the confidence it gives you, or the skills, and for me— it will be a part of me forever.”
“I would say Wilona pursues her artistic career at Deerfield fearlessly,” said Wasson. “By constantly raising the bar for herself and others, she sends a message to the Deerfield community that there’s always room for growth not only in one’s artistic career but also in his/her selves.”