Mainstage is the honors theater program offered by Leesville High School. Every year, Mainstage prepares a short show of one or two scenes and competes with other high school drama companies in the area.
This is not your average theater class, though. Mainstage is a class with an audition process.
“Auditions are scary, but auditioning for Mainstage is never your first experience with theater. The kids that try out for the class have been in at least one play or have taken theater,” said DJ Postley, senior.
For auditions you are assigned a monologue by Mrs. Catania, the Leesville theater director. When you present it, you have to dress as closely to that character as possible.
THE DECISION TO JOIN THEATER
Most students who become actors in high school have been on a technical crew at some point in their drama career. While being a “techie” is fun in itself, there’s something about being on stage in the spotlight that back stage fun simply can’t measure up to. Students also participate in theater to avoid the being stereotyped as “the shy kid.”
“I took Theater I freshman year, and it really scared me. I didn’t even think about theater again until spring semester my junior year, that’s when I decided to do tech crew for Guys and Dolls. I realized how much I needed the security that theater provided.” said Tiffany Stephenson, senior.
For others, theater is a chance to meet new people. Some students originally joined people for the sole purpose of getting to know someone better. Spiro Trance, junior, is an example of such a decision.
“I got into theater because of a girl. She had a role in My Fair Lady before I was involved with theater, and I went to see her in it. By the final curtain I was hooked. I wanted to be involved in theater.” Trance said of his decision to join theater.
This year, the Mainstage troupe has prepared two shows: “Vanities” and “She Stoops to Conquer.” On November 24, 2009, the drama department ran the shows four times total: three during the school day, periods 1, 2, and 4, and one show in the evening, at 7:00 p.m.
Karley St. Pierre, Logan Williamson and Kristin Taylor performed Vanities, a comedy about three cheerleaders. In the scene, the trio portrayed ditzy and stereotypical cheerleaders. The actors spoke in thick Southern accents and clearly knew from the start that they were on stage for one purpose: to make fools of themselves.
It’s a class like Mainstage that prepares student actors for such a polar opposite on-stage experience. The theater provides an outlet for people to become a character that they couldn’t be among friends.
A larger portion of the Mainstage students acted in a short comedy titled “She Stoops to Conquer.” The story concerns misunderstandings and secret relationships, which of course means hilarious and interesting character development.
A FUTURE IN THEATER
The question most Mainstage students find themselves asking is, “Will I do theater in college? Can I make a career out of this?” While theater gives you something for your college resume, it might not be a desired career for everyone who partakes in it.
When graduation day comes, students reflect on their high school acting careers. Some students who acted at Leesville have gone on to pursue acting outside of high school. A graduate of the class of 2009 is soon to be on a television show created by UNC drama majors.
In the case of Darryl (DJ) Postley, his goal in life changed during his high school career. Upon entering high school, Postley aspired to be a pro-wrestler.
“After My Fair Lady two years ago, I realized that I wanted to act; and the dream I had of being a pro-wrestler became a fallback. Once you’re in theater, there’s a moment when you realize that it’s what you love. Nothing else exists when you’re on that stage,” said Postley.
“Of course, I love theater. But theater takes commitment, and there are other things I want to do,” said Trance when asked about his future in theater. “But I will always remember the people I met here and the memories that were made, and hope to always be the person that theater made me.”