Spreading the Spotlight

New theater class organization includes more people, prompts change

Thousands dream of being on the silver screen.

Young hopefuls flock to Hollywood in hordes each year to maybe get a shot at stardom.

The arduous process of headshots, auditions and rejection is a familiar one for aspiring actors.

Less than a handful ever get roles and even fewer achieve fame.

While this is a tough reality to face, here at Blue Valley, the drama department has expanded the amount of Advanced and Beginning repertory theatre classes to give more students the chance to participate in rep shows and mainstages alike.


Victoria Roggy:

Doing beginning acting her freshman year and advanced acting her sophomore year, sophomore Victoria Roggy said she was always interested in acting.

“I started drama because I did it all through middle school and thought it was really fun,” she said. “I had a lot of friends who were going to be in acting class, and I was like, ‘Why not? This sounds fun.’”

Usually freshman start taking beginning acting as a first-semester freshman and continue with advanced the next semester.

Roggy, while taking advanced acting as a sophomore, said the class steps up the instruction behind serious acting.

“It is a step up from beginning acting,” she said. “That was lazier with a lot of playing around, and now we are applying actual acting principles to scenes — thinking about who you are as a character and developing that.”

Roggy said these are components vital to the future rep classes.

“I think this helps greatly for the rep classes because your are actually using the principles and learning how to do everything before just going at it, like in beginning acting,” she said. “I think it’s a good segway into rep class, but rep is going to be a lot more skill-based and getting down to the work.”

Even though the advanced acting class is more rigorous, Roggy said she thinks the new classes are unnecessary.

“It should make a more exclusive class,” she said. “Now they’re letting everyone in, and it’s not going to be as skill-based. It’s going to based on whether you think you’re good at acting, not if you actually are or not.”

Roggy said the availability of the new class will cause the productions to suffer.

“The rep shows will be at a lesser quality because there are already people in the rep class who probably do not deserve to be there, and now there are going to be a lot of people who do not deserve to be there —  just taking the class to be with their friends,” she said. “So, it’s going to make the shows worse since people aren’t going to put in all their effort.”

The shows aren’t the only aspect of the new structure that will be hurt, Roggy said.

“The change will also cause the whole department to suffer because it’s letting people in who don’t know how to act and not telling them they’re bad, so they don’t know if they’re good or not,” she said. “This makes it worse for the people who are good at acting and are surrounded by those who aren’t, which deprives them from their due learning experience and advancement.”

Roggy said she scheduling conflicts along with the apathetic attitudes were her reasons for dropping the department.

“My schedule was filled up enough with academic classes, some of which are only offered certain hours that overlap with the rep class I would’ve been filtered into,” she said. “I wasn’t going to change classes that actually matter for one that is filled with a clique of lazy sophomores who put forth no effort.”


Skyler Jones:

Sophomore Skyler Jones, a current student of drama teacher Jeff Yarnell’s second hour repertoire theatre class, will be part of the new advanced rep theatre class next year which will be a combination of the current two rep classes under the instruction of two teachers.

Jones said he believes the new organization of classes can be potentially problematic but believes with proper leadership, the students will thrive.

“The new rep class will definitely consist of too many people in my opinion,” he said. “But I am excited about the new teacher, [drama teacher Maureen] Davis — she comes from a really great department.”

Jones said he believes the rep shows will give students lots of opportunities to be a part of the department and anticipates improvement in the main stage shows.

“The new system of letting everyone in and having another teacher will give everyone a chance to do theater and experience two different directing styles,” Jones said.

Despite the advantages, Jones said there might be some issues that come from combining two classes into one.

“There will not be nearly as much chemistry between the actors and other actors and actors and director,” Jones said. “Fifty people in one black box is a bit chaotic.”

Jones said he finds the sheer size of the departing particularly daunting in regards to the change.

“Too many people is my main concern. This year we were already bigger than most departments,” he said. “The 22 people in my current class is acceptable.”

Though some students have experienced scheduling conflicts with the hour change from seventh hour to fifth hour, Jones said this has not been an issue for him and he has found this department to be a source of many good experiences for him as an actor.

“ I think main stage shows will become the must see shows,” he said. “I love every opportunity to do straight theatre and this department has a lot of them.”


Charlie Stebbins:

Junior Charlie Stebbins will also be joining the fifth hour advanced rep theatre class but can only do it for one semester do to other scheduling commitments.

Stebbins said he has made very fond memories with his current group of acting students.

“I love my drama class. I’ve been with most of them my whole high school career and they have helped me grow and mature as a person, which I needed considering freshmen year,” he said. “I love working with them. They all have amazing qualities that help the class and the department as a whole.”

Stebbins said it is possible this dynamic will change as the classes grow.

“I think it may change a little as there will be so many people in the class,” he said. “I still wish I was closer to the people in there now.”

Stebbins said it took him awhile to get used to the new arrangement for rep theatre.

“At first, I wasn’t sure how to react. We have 89 kids in rep next year, larger than any other school in the district, perhaps even the state,” he said. “I was a tad angry. However, when I finally came to my senses, I realized that it’s not about being the best. This is high school — it’s great to give everyone a chance.”

Stebbins said he expects there to be a transition period in terms of the rep theatre productions.

“[The department] will benefit just because our family is growing,” he said. “However, I do believe the quality is going to go down a bit in regards to the rep shows just because there will be so many.”

Stebbins said having a new teacher will provide new learning prospects.

“I think having a second opinion for the shows will definitely help,” he said. “In regards to acting ability, it’s always good to learn from more than one person.”

Stebbins said the concept of theater has always interested him, and the department here at BV was a good fit for him.

“I’ve done drama for as long as I can remember,” Stebbins said. “So, it just felt natural to join the department.”


Marissa Herzog:

For sophomore Marisa Herzog, the rep department is not a place to learn acting but is where she works behind the scenes as a stage manager performing other technical jobs.

Herzog said she thinks the expansion of the department is highly beneficial for its members.

“I am really excited about the new rep organization,” she said. “We are going to have a ton of change coming soon but all good changes that will improve the department as a whole.”

While the actors feel the increased numbers may lead to potential issues, Herzog said she believes it will add to the tech side.

“I don’t see it hindering people’s chance of being a part of tech,” she said. “Right now we are at a point where we need more tech, so I think it will put us at a spot where people won’t have to do 5 different tech jobs for one show.”

Herzog said she anticipates some students choosing to come into rep to do tech.

“Just recently we have had many kids decide that they want to be a part of tech,” she said. “So I think overall we will be gaining students.”

Herzog said having a new director will also ameliorate some of the current problems.

“I think the new teacher will help us with the ability to do more shows and the opportunity to be in a show,” she said. “Also with two people running things, it will be a little more stress free.”