August Osage County (2015)
During my junior year, August was the last show that really rounded everything off and it ended up being a surprisingly positive experience following what had been a difficult year for me. The show was once again extremely dramatic; it was set in modern times but dealt with a wide range of controversial topics such as drug abuse, suicide and incest. A lot of these issues are quite difficult for high school students to tackle, but the cast (including lead roles portrayed by current senior Jacqueline Kotlarz and graduate Victoria Brown) really dived in to ensure that they were characterizing their roles in an appropriate manner. Most of the time in rehearsal was spent dissecting the character’s motives and emotions, so all I, as a stage manager, had to worry about were the difficult special lighting and sound effects that our director, Nikki Guckian, and technical director, Aaron Stahlecker, wanted. The best thing about this show was the tightness of the cast and the depths of emotions everyone went to together. I’ll never forget when we were warming up in the final hours before we competed. During OAP, the hosting school will give you a room to stay in and prepare before your drawn competition time and, since our show was last, we spent several hours allowing the actors to get emotionally prepared. At one point we turned off the lights and assistant director, Jon Alonso, went through each character and related them to the actors in a way that made them more real to each individual. What he was saying made me think a lot more about the theme of the show, whether to let yourself swim or sink and, even though we didn’t advance, on the bus ride home we were all strangely serene.