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Drama prepares new material, season

The spotlight beam swings to focus on the actor who leaps onto the stage. He swings his arms wide and opens his mouth to deliver his lines when . . .his mind goes suddenly blank! A drama new season may present challenges, but campus drama members see the future as an extremely promising opportunity.

“Vicky Shaghoian is a professional drama instructor at the Yale Institute of the Arts and is a native of Fresno,” Tom McEntee, drama instructor, said. “She teaches in a studio on 8th Avenue in New York. When we travel to New York this spring, all the students will perform their monologues for her and she will critique them.”

The idea of performing in front of a professional drama teacher and critic can be nerve- racking at best, and many view the meeting with mixed emotions.

“I’m expecting some good criticism from her,” Samantha Grizz, ’07, said. “I won’t be that nervous, I just plan to be myself.”

Newcomers to the drama team will be offered a chance to glean insight into the mind of a professional actress.

“I’ve never experienced this type of performance before,” Samantha Krikorian, ’08, said. “I’m not too sure what to expect, but I don’t think I’ll be that nervous because she’ll help me become a better actress.”

A thick, oppressive silence fills the theater. The audience sits hushed as they wait for the scene to begin. The actor’s palms grow sweaty; his legs begin to tremble as he frantically racks his brain for the fleeting lines. A woman in the back begins to chuckle.

“This season, we are doing the first acts of three plays,” McEntee said. “The first is called The Importance of Being Ernest [starring seniors Chris White and Damon O’Brien], the second, The Doctor in Spite of Himself, and last, The Inspector-General [starring Nic Westburg]. I expect all three of these acts will work out wonderfully to showcase our drama program.”

McEntee is not the only one who is looking forward to the new monologues and first acts. Sophomore Phillip Unruh believes anything can be a success, given that certain sacrifices are made.

“I believe our success hinges on our sacrifices to the ?drama god’,” Unruh said. “It also depends on whether or not we memorize our lines!”

Krikorian also has a positive attitude toward this season’s performances.

“The students performing in our plays are great actors and actresses,” Krikorian said. “They always do their best, so therefore the plays will be good and well liked.”

A few moments later, the light buzz of whispers is immediately silenced with a shout of, “Friends, Romans, Countrymen! Led me thy ears!” With a confident smile, the young actor finishes his soliloquy with gusto.

“One of the first acts takes place in a pre-revolution Russian village,” McEntee said. “The people of the village are scared out of their wits because the Inspector General is coming to their town. Now one knows why; it’s very dangerous for them.”

Physically, the play will be difficult for the actors to enact. Accents are a definite must and Russian folk dances will also be added to make the performance seem more authentic.

“I think it will be the best thing ever comprehended by man!” Unruh said. “We’ve had a lot of good ideas for the play and hopefully it will be funny. Besides, we’re sure our sacrifices to the drama god have not gone unnoticed.”

However, over dramatized seriousness and suspense usually give way to humorous reactions.

“The Russian play is a comedy,” McEntee said. “Since the inspector is incognito, he could be anyone. The people jump at everything that crosses their path. It will be entertaining to watch.”

The room explodes with whistles and wild applause as the curtain falls and the young actor takes his final bow.

“Drama makes me step out of my box and try new things,” Unruh said. “I can’t wait to see how everything plays out.”

For more information e-mail McEntee at [email protected] or contact the high school office at 299-1695.

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