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Actress Emily describes recent Sevier production

Meredith Mooney, Staff Writer

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John Sevier’s fall play of the well-known “Annie Jr.” recently took place. The star of the production was Emily, a talented student actress.

“I’ve been acting since about four years old, so easily nine or ten plays in my lifetime,” Emily said. “The roles I had in the plays I’ve done have been all over the place. For example, in kindergarten I was a carrot, and in the 5th grade, I was Eleanor Roosevelt.”

Being an actor requires lots of traits.

“Acting to me is a really cool ability to have,” she said. “With just a little work, you can become a whole new person; that’s what I love about acting.”

Some students have stage fright.

“Stage fright is totally normal, but some people, like me, don’t really get stage fright,” Emily said. “Yes, I’m always nervous before shows, but I always remind myself that I am ready.”

Emily likes to go for the “small-ish” roles and prefers being part of the ensemble in plays or musicals. However, this time, she was cast as Annie, the main character.

“This threw me for a curve, that’s for sure,” she said.

Emily’s approach to a role is to learn about the character’s past.

“For Annie, her parents left her at an orphanage with a locket and notes,” she said. “If you don’t know much about them, think about what they’re trying to do, what they want, and even their feelings.”

Acting requires many characteristics to be successful.

“Have patience, stay focused, and work hard,” Steward said. “Having patience is very important because there will always be scenes that you’re not in; stay focused, theater work is hard. And hard work, it pays off.”

These skills also come with challenges.

“For me, it’s probably getting fully into character,” she said. “That means emotions, overall impression, actions, all of it.”

Emily thinks that the most challenging part for her is memorizing lines, music, costume changes, and even stage positions. Still, Emily strongly believes that school plays are important.

“Students who love singing and acting and theatre in general get a chance to do the things they want to do,” she said. “It also provides awesome entertainment for students.”

Emily landed the role of Annie by auditioning for the roles she wanted, and Annie was one of the characters on her list.

“We were first given music pieces to sing as part of the audition and part of a scene to say,” she said. “No matter what, if you audition, you get a part.”

It takes more than just actors to create a performance. Actors also need directors, instructors, and choreographers.

“Some rehearsals were longer than others,” Steward said. “The whole experience was truly magical. Mr. Graybeal and Mrs. Miller are fabulous people with amazing talents. We couldn’t have done this without them.”

Acting isn’t strictly happy faces or frowns; there is excitement, laughter and fun. Emily had many funny experiences while working on “Annie Jr.”.

“During a rehearsal of scene eight, which is the radio show scene, Allison Duncan accidently said ‘America’s favorite rodeo program’ instead of ‘America’s radio program’,” Steward said. “The people doing the sound effects in the scene started bellowing ‘YEEHAW’ and we all cracked up.”

One common question students often ask is how actors get all those lines memorized.

“We were all given a soundtrack to help learn music, but lines were harder,” Emily said. “If you had a lot, you could use a special strategy for memorizing. You made a recording of the whole scene. Here’s the catch: you record yourself saying everyone else’s lines and leave a gap for your own. So when you replay it, just say your line in the gap. I used this method and memorized everything in two weeks.”

Emily advises that if students enjoy acting then they should do exactly that. Acting is fun, and Emily believes that everyone should experience it.

“The plays at JSMS are magical,” she said. “I have so much fun every year, and I hope students get to have the same phenomenal experience I do.”

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Actress Emily describes recent Sevier production