Being the first solo drama production for many of the students involved, St. Augustine’s two performances of 15 Reasons Not To Be In A Play went off without a hitch.
The shows took place Jan. 9 and 10 at the St. Augustine school. Both Jazzlee Matira and Victoria Collyn, two of the actors, agree the second night was better than the first. With only 20 people in the audience the first night Matira says it was harder to get up and put on the play and justify its worth that night than the second night with a larger audience.
“It was almost encouraging to see them out there,” said Collyn. “I think it went pretty well for my first performance.
“I think I did better my second performance because I didn’t forget any of my lines, I did the first time,” Matira added.
The drama class began rehearsing the play in November but took a break because the students also directed and participated in the school’s Christmas concert with the elementary students. In that time director and drama teacher Angela Meyer says the students made huge improvements.
“I think one of the biggest things students learn in theater is, it’s not just about memorizing lines, it’s about becoming a character,” said Meyer.
Matira feels, for the students to put on a good play, they had to not only play their part but feed off the parts of others. “Acting is reacting,” Meyer agreed.
“If you don’t react, the audience will think ‘oh she isn’t paying attention, why should we’,” said Matira.
Meyer chose this play after reading the script because of its comical side and flexible casting parts. With only two boys in the school’s drama program she says this play worked perfectly. “It’s always a challenge to find a good play that fits the cast.”
Along with providing a good laugh, the play also worked wonders on the students’ confidence, said Meyer. Last year, Theatre Prospero visited the school and put on a Midsummer Night’s Dream, but this is the first time most of the students have acted with no one of stage prompting them.
“I think for a first performance, I went a long way . . . When I got up on stage, I felt more alive,” said Collyn.
“It (drama) had always been in the back of my mind but when I went to Theatre Prospero, it sparked something,” she added.
Matira’s sisters were also a part of Theatre Prospero and that’s what prompted her to take drama. In the beginning she was scared but her sisters provided the encouragement she needed.
St. Augustine normally only puts on one performance—a musical in May—but because there were two drama classes this year, a January performance was added as well.
Meyer says she’s already thinking about May, but hasn’t yet zeroed in on the piece the students are going to perform.