Students taking the Lincoln Theater Guildâ€™s new drama classes are learning that working together makes for a great show.
â€œYou contribute your part and your part makes the whole,â€ said Mary Williams, the class instructor to her students. â€œYou could be a rock in the play, and you could be just as important as someone who has 50 gazillion lines.â€
Josh Walston, an 11 year old student, nods knowingly.
â€œI was a tree once,â€ he said.
Many of the students attending the classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights lack experience, but have big dreams.
â€œItâ€™s fun and challenging, and it pays in cash,â€ said Jake Bridges, a 12 year old student with movie star aspirations.
Casey Beamâ€™s mother, Lorie Messer, wants to encourage her daughterâ€™s interest in the entertainment field. Who knows, says Messer, some day she could be a model in New York City.
â€œIâ€™m more or less doing this to get her started,â€ said Messer. â€œSheâ€™s got a knack for it.â€
Casey likes to act because it gives her a chance to pretend to be somebody else and builds her confidence. She also doesnâ€™t mind the attention.
â€œI like being in the spotlight,â€ she said.
Her instructor agrees.
â€œI like being a ham in front of everybody,â€ said Williams.
The class focuses on ensemble work, and Williams plans to make sure that each superstar gets a fair amount of stage time.
â€œTo me, theater is not just a showcase of individuals on stage,â€ said Williams. â€œItâ€™s a community.â€
During the class students will have time to goof around and play improvisational games. They will also learn about the importance of speech inflection and body movement.
Some young actors already know where they want to put their focus.
â€œI like to be the bad guy,â€ said Jake. â€œThe girls go for the bad guy.â€
While most students mention the fun of disappearing into a character, some students feel that taking theater classes helps them be themselves.
During Thursdayâ€™s class students were mirroring each other while making funny faces and hopping up and down.
â€œI like acting because you can just be yourself around everybody,â€ said Dakota Brocato, a 14 year old student. â€œIt doesnâ€™t matter if you act stupid.â€
Williams hopes the classes help students build confidence, something theater has done for her.
â€œItâ€™s given me the tools to be more the person I want to be – more vocal and comfortable in social situations,â€ said Williams. â€œI hope my students will get the same thing I got out of it.â€
The theater classes run for the next 10 weeks. Each class is an hour and a half. Younger students meet on Tuesday and older students meet on Thursday. Young actors who are interested still have time to sign up for the classes.
Previous acting experience or an immediate knack for the stage is unnecessary.
â€œIt comes more natural to some people, but I think everyone has it,â€ said Williams.
For information about acting classes, call the Lincoln Theatre Guild at 704-735-2281.
by Sarah Grano