High school plays: Why theater still thrives in the hearts of students

Northern Lebanon High School students rehearse a scene from 'Bye Bye Birdie.' FILE - LEBANON DAILY NEWS

Northern Lebanon High School students rehearse a scene from ‘Bye Bye Birdie.’ FILE – LEBANON DAILY NEWS

By KATIE SIPLE,
York Catholic High School

Plays have been written and performed live for thousands of years and are still an important part of people’s lives. It was one of the first early forms of entertainment, dating to the 5th century B.C. Today, plays have been joined by new technology, such as TV and movies. However, almost every high school in the York area still performs a play annually. Why do students try out for plays?

Shannon Hallisay, the education director at DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre in York, said participating in any role of a play can help you meet new people, obtain a sense of accomplishment and gain self-confidence. She also said that participating in plays looks good on college applications. It shows admissions directors that applicants are brave, confident and malleable. Participating in a play can help students meet new people, feel a sense of accomplishment and become self-assured. These qualities are prominent in many occupations.

Lauren Hand, an actress at York Catholic High School, said she loves plays because she feels like she can truly be herself. She also likes plays because she gets the opportunity to pretend to be someone else for a little while. Hand said she thinks of all of her cast mates as a close family that will always support her.

If a student is afraid or nervous to try out, Hallisay suggested to just go out there and audition.

Hand said she struggles with stage fright sometimes, but she focuses on the show and her character. Hand also relies on the support of her other cast mates to remember that she is not alone on stage.

There are several types of auditions. Hallisay recommended to try a cold read play if it is your first time auditioning. There is nothing to memorize and no pressure to perform. Another type of audition is a monologue, where an actor memorizes lines from the script before coming in to audition and recites it in front of the director. For a monologue audition, Hand suggested showing up to the audition prepared and put together.

Hand always tries to have a positive mindset while auditioning for roles. She said new actors should research the show before auditioning so that they have a feel for the characters and the plot.

Even if an audition doesn’t go so well, it can be used as a learning experience.Sometimes, acting companies are searching for a specific role to fill for certain personalities or looks. A small part is just as important as a lead. Actors can learn a lot from the leads in plays and study their techniques to become better actors in the future.

After months of practicing in an auditorium, the opening night finally approaches. The sets are painted, costumes are ready, the lights go up, and the curtain opens to a full auditorium. Audiences like to recognize the title of plays or read a synopsis to entice them to see the play. Some people have been in the production before and might want to see it again for old time’s sake.

Hallisay said she hopes that 50 years from now, plays will still be around to entertain audiences. Live theater is an experience and can form real connections with people, unlike TV and movies.

Hand also remains hopeful that plays will still exist in the years to come. Live theater is a tradition that has been passed down for centuries. It always has been and likely will continue to be loved by many.

November is the month for school plays in York County. The next time you are looking for something to do on the weekend, check out the school plays, and support your local school’s theater programs.

About Ashley May

FlipSide editor. York County native. Fashion enthusiast. Social media junkie. I take my lattes with soy and whip. Follow me on Twitter @ashleymaytweets.
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