Falala Underclassmen Gala

Lilah Slaughter , Reporter

Upperclassmen often receive lead roles in Troupe 1096’s productions, but the annual Underclassmen Gala allows younger students to rise to the challenges of acting in lead roles and taking more control of performances.

The Gala was a collection of four one-act shows: “Little Women,” “The Swimmer,” “The Last Yankee,” and “Selfie.”

Freshman Curtis Salinger acted in “Selfie,” which Sr. Emma Buchanan directed.

“[Emma Buchanan] was very approachable, very open and very able to help you,” said Salinger.

Buchanan also directed Fr. Emma Vogel in “Selfie.”

“The performers were very present in decision making. Our wonderful director, Emma Buchanan, consulted us about almost every decision that had to be made, which really made it our show,” said Vogel.

Senior Luke Fowler, director of “The Last Yankee,” also took strides to make his show individual to the performers.

“We went through several rehearsals that were purely reaction-based, without worrying about how to portray the characters in the play,” said Fowler.

In typical productions, the underclassmen do not have the opportunity to make important decisions. However, in many of these rehearsals, under the direction of senior officers of the Troupe, the underclassmen made many revisions to the plays in which they acted.

Animas High School student McKenzie James performed in “Little Women,” under the direction of Katelyn Craig.

“I didn’t see that she did too much to make the play our own, which makes sense given it was a pretty strict script to follow. It was cool though because we all somewhat connected to our characters and got to incorporate our personalities with theirs,” said James, who had a slightly different experience with personalization of the play.

Despite the strict script, James appreciated Craig’s determined directing, in order to make the Gala an enjoyable experience.

“Working under the upperclassmen made me want to try harder to achieve what they have,” said James.

The underclassmen all seemed to appreciate the guidance of the experienced directors, and look forward to being able to fill their shoes.

“It’s definitely inspirational seeing how talented they are, especially people like Emma Buchanan, who is a phenomenal actress and a phenomenal singer. It’s encouraging to think that some day you could be as talented as they are, with the training,” said Salinger.

The Gala allowed for the underclassmen to observe the talents of upperclassmen in atypical environments, and further developed their admiration for them.

The seniors’ director positions are a manifestation of their talent and drive to participate in the craft, which is inspiring to younger thespians.

“I would love to be able to [direct] as an upperclassman. I am just hoping to be able to accomplish and improve enough in theater in that time so that I will be selected to direct,” said Fr. Sierra Kelly.

Kelly has caught the theater bug. She sees the Underclassmen Gala as an opportunity for others to do the same.

“A lot of times I will see people who have never done any type of theater before come in, do one show, and it will really change them,” said Kelly.

Salinger has been in theater for several years, and loves many aspects about it. In the Gala, “Selfie” had a deep impact on his views of people.

“It impacted me because it showed that there are a lot of different sides to how people feel. It taught me empathy because you don’t always know how people feel, and everyone has stuff going on that you need to be sympathetic towards,” said Salinger. Even after countless shows, theater can cause the change that Kelly sees in newcomers.

The Underclassmen Gala is a chance for many younger members in theater to have experience with roles they wouldn’t typically receive as well as gain a special bonding experience with their directors.