BY HAGEN COOK
There’re always discussions about sports and academics, but, when it comes to high school activities, how often do we talk about the performing arts?
Just about every high school puts on plays and musicals, and yet there still aren’t enough people talking about these productions. With that being said, the amount of work and effort that these actors and stagehands put in should not go unnoticed. These shows go deeper than simply performing due to the friendships that are built and the lessons that can be learned for everyone involved. While balancing school with their busy lives, these students still find time to pursue their passions.
At Syracuse High School the most popular performance is the fall musical which generally has about fifty actors, and that’s without counting all those helping behind the scenes. To get a part, one can just audition to be in the show and be assigned one later; however, it takes a special type of person to be an actor. In Jacob Livingston’s case, he started out by being on the tech crew for production back in junior high. While working behind the curtains, he realized that he wanted to contribute in a different way and decided to get on stage as an actor. Jacob has kept pursuing this passion and has been in three musicals, two one-acts, and one play throughout his time in high school.
Riley Maughan’s story is a little different. He has been acting for eight years now and got started because his friends encouraged him to try out with them. He enjoyed the experience and decided to stick with it, saying, “I found a really awesome community and art that I’ve just fallen in love with.” Like Riley, most of the actors end up loving the social aspect of the theater. Since these productions take time to prepare, they’re forced to spend a lot of time together, but they’re more than happy to do this as they become “chosen family,” as actress Grace Jensen puts it, to each other.
The sheer amount of work that goes into these shows is often taken for granted. Emily Nuttal was the student director for Syracuse High’s One Act this past year, The Importance of Being Earnest. She was one of those in charge of the blocking, set design, costumes, and props among other responsibilities. Emily says she is very proud of everyone that worked on the show, and with good reason as their production won first place in the Davis Region One Act competition. This is proof that just because their hard work may go unnoticed by some, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Working in the performing arts is an amazing way to learn valuable life lessons. Jacob explains that he’s learned to be confident, “You’re on that stage playing someone else and you need to forget all the stresses of your life and take on your character and their feelings instead.” Some may stick with the performing arts after high school and some might not, but either way, there are countless lessons and experiences to be gleaned. Now after graduating, Emily and Riley plan to turn their passion for the performing arts into a career while Jacob and Grace plan to stick with it in their free time by participating in every acting opportunity they can. So, whether it becomes a hobby or a career, the performing arts have something for everybody. Emily sums it up by saying, “Theater is a way to incite powerful emotions which makes life all the more worthwhile.”