Summer in the spotlight

Akshay Agrawal

MVHS students take their passion for acting to the professional level.

It all began with a simple summer job search.
On the forgivingly sunny morning of May 22, senior Jeanette Deutsch was to embark on the daunting and tedious task of finding a summer job. Food and retail, she decided, were out of the question. However, before Deustch had time to contemplate what options that left her with, her mother, who happened to be browsing Craigslist, stumbled across auditions for a theatre company. Well aware of her daughter’s theatrical aspirations, Jeanette Deutsch’s mother informed her about the timely discovery.
She quickly called her friend, fellow senior Mandy Watson, who was also involved in theatre, and Watson was thrilled to join. Together, they went in for their auditions, performing cold readings of multiple Shakespeare plays, hoping for the best. Soon enough, the aspiring actresses encountered success. Both actresses were given parts in the production of Shakespeare’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream"— Watson playing the parts of the fairy Cobweb, Philostrate and Robin Starveling, among other roles, and Deutsch the part of Theseus. Watson also secured the roles of Ariel and Dr. Jacqueline Benoit in Charles L. Mee’s "Wintertime", while Deustch played Paris in Shakespeare’s "Romeo & Juliet".
Thrilled to break onto the professional acting scene, Deutsch and Watson began their rehearsals and reading.
Working as professionals, however, was not everything that they had imagined it to be. When readings and rehearsals finally began, they found that many of their fellow crew members were not reliable. They would simply drop out of the production without warning— as demonstrated, to Deutsch’s horror, by Romeo of "Romeo & Juliet". Directors would quit, and the theatre company’s name even changed in the brief time of Deutsch and Watson’s employment from Deep Impact Theatre, to One for the Road Theatre Company. The frenzied rehearsals and disorganized ways of the company made Deutsch and Watson aware of the stark contrast between the company and the MVHS International Thespian Society.
“It really made us appreciate [drama teacher and ITS adviser] Holly [Cornelison],” Deutsch said.
“I’ve actually never felt stress like that in my life,” Watson said. “[Our theatre organization] keeps things so organized.”
As further proof, Deutsch mentions another play, in which she was to sing in the choir. Aristophanes’ "Lysistrata", a Greek comedy, was canceled— another case of the directors’ unreliability.
With all this confusion behind the scenes, was there actually anything worth having joined the company for? "Yes," both Deutsch and Watson exclaim. They agree that they’ve met some amazing people on set. “When you have to get close to someone on stage,” Watson said, “it’s easier if you’re close to them off stage."
While the rest of the company’s much older cast seemed intimidating to the two high school students at first, they soon became well acquainted with the members, and grew to respect them greatly— Deutsch even celebrated her birthday with the cast.
And, most importantly, despite their seemingly difficult experience with the theatre company, neither Deutsch nor Watson is put off.
“Something that you’re passionate about can’t be put off by one bad experience,” Deutsch said. “It’s a lot better than flipping burgers.”