Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Go Behind the Scenes with Our Young Actors (Part Two)

Young actors from A Christmas Carol: (top row) Blogger Sophia Utria, Joshua Myran, Maximos Harris, Bloggers Zoe Hebbard and  Emily McDaniel, Mitchell Huntley, Blogger Benjamin Susskind, London Walston.
(middle row) Alexis Cueva, Bloggers Olivia Drury and William Lynam.
(bottom row) Bloggers Karoline Ribak, Katherine Parrish, Jacqueline Vellandi, Aoife McEvoy and Bella Browne.
Our Bloggers

Olivia Drury (Young Girl About Town), age 13. Olivia has been studying acting at SCR for two years and started performing in plays at age five. She played Troy in High School Musical and Burt in Mary Poppins. “I was a huge tomboy.”

Will Lynam (Turkey Boy), age 11. Will has been studying at SCR for two years. Fun fact: “I am very good with technology and I can fix most computer problems."

Emily McDaniel (Belinda Cratchit), age 11. Emily has been studying acting at SCR for three years. She has two pet bunnies named Toki and Sugar. “I am bananas about bunnies!!”

Aoife McEvoy (Tiny Tim), age 10. Aoife has been studying at SCR for two years. Fun fact: “I’m named after an evil queen who turns children into swans in Irish mythology.”

Zoe Hebbard (Belinda Cratchit), age 11. Fun fact: Zoe is a competitive ballroom dancer.

Katherine Parrish (Martha Cratchit), age 16. She’s been studying acting at SCR for four years and is an avid Broadway musical theatre fan.

Karoline Ribak (Fan), age 17. She has been studying at SCR for nine years and previously played Belinda Cratchit in A Christmas Carol back in 2007.

Sophia Utria (Fan), age 16. She has been studying at SCR for two years. Fun fact: she has a twin sister. “We can sometimes read each others' mind.”

Jacqueline Vellandi (Tiny Tim), age 10. She started in SCR’s Youth Conservatory when she was eight and just finishing third grade. She loves SCR and can’t wait to be a Junior and Teen Player. She likes to write scripts, hold auditions and then run rehearsals and perform shows with her Barbies and Legos.

Our young bloggers performed in A Christmas Carol more than two-dozen times now. We asked them to talk about different milestones during the production.

How does it feel performing onstage, in front of sold-out houses?
Jacki: It feels like a dream come true!
Olivia: It's a feeling that really cannot be put into words. It's like everything around you just disappears and you can't feel or remember anything other than that moment. It is truly a feeling like no other, kind of like electricity.
Aofie:  I like it when I can hear people in the audience laugh or gasp. I want to make them feel emotions and get involved in the story.
Karoline: The audiences' energy creates the magic and brings our story to life.

Are you still discovering new things about your character?
Karoline: I'm constantly challenging myself to break routine and find ways to keep my interactions real and fresh.
Benjamin: In the party scenes, I play a character without a name.  I haven't really thought about this, so I have been coming up with his story as the shows go on.
Jacki: I keep finding out new things about Tiny Timlike he's really energetic even if he is sick and weak. I’m working on showing that excitement he feels inside.

Were you nervous before opening night?
Sophia: Surprisingly, no. We had been rehearsing for this moment, and everyone was ready.
Emily:  I couldn't sit still all day. I was shaking when the lights dimmed for the show to begin. But once I got out on stage I felt great, not scared at all. I loved it!
Olivia: I was very nervous backstage. But, once I was waiting to enter and heard the excited murmurs of the crowd trying to find their seats, I just took a deep breath, and stopped being nervous. I thought "This is what I love to do, so why am I nervous?"

What do you do backstage when you’re not onstage?
Sophia: Costume changes!
Benjamin: I have so many that I don't even get to talk and rest during intermission.
William: I have to do a really quick costume change for one of my scenes.  If I take too long then the other actors in my dressing room squirt me with a water bottle to get me to move a little faster. It is a fun way of keeping me on track.
Olivia: If I am not changing costumes, I hang out with the other actors in the dressing rooms or the green room. We usually play chess and talk.
Karoline: Our chess games backstage are extremely intense.

Any fun backstage stories?
Aoife: Backstage we like to make up names for the characters that don’t have official names. We gave Turkey Boy the name Gregory Thomas Caspian III. We named two of the Fezziwig guests Beatrice and Esmeralda.
Emily: Daniel Blinkoff (Mr. Cratchit) taught me how to play checkers during intermission. One time, Karen Hensel (Mrs. Fezziwig) was about to go and she realized she had a Vons grocery bag caught on her hoop skirt.
Katherine: Our Red Team cheer before every show is "Roses are red and so are we!" We like to make a tunnel for Gregg Daniels (Marley's Ghost) to exit through before the schoolyard scene. And after every show, Daniel Blinkoff (Bob Cratchit) high fives us and says "Slap me five!"and we say "Gimme some change!"

Have your friends and family been able to see you in the show?
Zoe: Definitely! My grandma flew from Virginia to come see the show!
William: My parents and brother have seen the performance three times and I have had family fly in from three different states to watch me perform.
Emily: My mom has a ticket to every performance and my whole family has seen it. Even my Grandma who lives out of the country came to opening night.

Jacki Vellandi as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol
What's been the best part about being in A Christmas Carol this year?
Jacki: Christmas started in November for me, when I was cast in A Christmas Carol and I love Christmasso that’s been awesome.
Katherine: I've loved making relationships with all these wonderful people I never would have met otherwise, including the actors, the tech crew and my crazy Cratchit family. I will never forget the time I have had doing this show; these wonderful memories will live with me forever.
Emily: I have been able to meet so many nice, kind people and I’ve learned new acting skills. My favorite part though is being on stageI just love it!
Olivia: My favorite part is being with all the actors and the crew. They are so much fun to be around and are always very helpful. We have such a good time!
Zoe: Probably just getting to perform with all these professional adult actors. I learn so much stuff from them.
Aoife: I love everything about it!
Sophia: I love the holidays, and this year I got spend a lot of time this season doing what I love and being around people I have become really close to. Every day since the first rehearsal, there is something to celebrate or smile about. The whole cast and crew is so full of spirit, it's impossible not to be happy.
Benjamin: I think my favorite part about being in A Christmas Carol this year is being able to perform with professionals and being able to perform with Mrs. Argyros.
William: The best part of being in A Christmas Carol is being transformed into another period of time.
Karoline: Every member of the cast is warm-hearted, supportive and always there to make me laugh. I feel blessed beyond belief to work with such an inspiring group of artists. I cherish every second with my A Christmas Carol family and will always treasure the memories, wisdom and joy they have given me.

Read part one of this blog.

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