Drama Finds Audiences beyond Theater


Mindy Luo, Visual Media Editor

Drama 2 and Advanced Drama held Academy performances open to all students on March 9 and March 11.

The event featured several short scenes that ranged from individual monologues to group plays and from comedic to intense or emotional, including Dead Man’s Cellphone, Driver’s Test, and Over the Edge.

Drama teacher Chris McNevin believes that the Academy performance is a fun alternative use of the period for students looking for an exciting experience. “I know Academy is supposed to be for an educational purpose, and I think this is the best education and enrichment that we can provide. Academy can be a more enriching experience not only for students who perform, but for any students who watch and enjoy what we do,” said McNevin.

The performances were prepared as part of a class assignment where students could choose to learn either a monologue or a group scene. Students were given creative freedom when it came to their choice of script or partner.

According to junior Emmie Miller, this assignment finally gave her the opportunity to perform a sentimental monologue about mental health that she had saved since last year. “I could relate to the character and I thought the writing of the actual monologue was pretty realistic, and it felt real to me,” said Miller.

Senior Andrew Shellen went a different route by choosing the more humorous Drivers’ Test 2-person play which had to be condensed down to the beginning scene. “I normally choose to do comedic scenes just because I feel intense scenes are needed, but there’s always need to break up the tension and comedy is a really good coping skill for tragedy and times of distress,” said Shellen. “I like to spread the joy of laughter to others to try to make them feel a bit lighthearted.”

Students appreciated having an audience in front of which to perform.

“I like how Mr. McNevin has opened up all these performances to a wider audience because before it was pretty closed off and it was mostly performing in front of classmates, so to have the opportunity to spread it to the school is really awesome,” said Shellen. “I think it’s really great that more people can see what we are doing back here because we are kinda hidden.”

In addition to the new academy performances, drama has also been bringing its performances into academic classrooms. Student actors are sent in pairs to perform short scenes for other classes on campus.

McNevin said these creative methods are necessary to provide opportunities for his students to perform in front of an audience. “It’s something that I started last year and I will continue to do it as long as we are limited in our ability to do performances in the theater on the stage,” said McNevin.

According to McNevin, performing in unconventional spaces may also a blessing in disguise. “Sending students to other classrooms or outside of the theater forces them to be uncomfortable and to perform and to also solve problems of performing in different spaces and in different environments with different audiences. It certainly helps to raise the awareness and to make people aware that we have a drama program,” said McNevin.

“I think it is a pretty cool opportunity to showcase in front of people who might not necessarily sign up for the academies,” said Miller.