Thursday, March 12, 2015

Meet the SCR Players

Last season's Summer Players production of Peter Pan with Christopher Huntley, Nika Aydin, Shane Iverson and Jaden Fogel.
Emme O'Toole in rehearsal for Myth Adventures. "The Players experience has been phenomenal. I've met and made some of my best friends here and learned so many things that are useful on stage and off."
Who are the SCR Players? Even for those attending their shows, the Players themselves can be something of a mystery. Let’s clear that mystery up!

SCR Players are ensemble groups of students from the Theatre Conservatory, who are chosen by audition and perform fully-produced plays during the spring session. Most Players attended the Summer Acting Workshop for beginners, got bitten by the acting bug and continued their training in year-round classes.

Then a smaller, more serious, group of students emerged, those who had decided to take their talent and enthusiasm to the next level—by auditioning for one of the two ensemble groups, Junior (grades 5-8) or Teen (grades 9-12) Players.

They are the dedicated ones, who have completed at least two full years in the program and are willing to make a year-long commitment. This includes attending one class during the week and another on Saturday—with extra hours during rehearsals and the run of their show.

Henry Ficcadenti at the "table read" for David Copperfield. "The Teen Players program has taught me about the process of putting together a production. After all, artists spend much more time creating their art than showing the final product"
According to Theatre Conservatory Director Hisa Takakuwa, “That’s asking a lot of kids whose weekends are usually filled with sports and other extracurricular activities. Giving up two hours every Saturday is a big commitment, and during rehearsals the commitment is even greater.”

How much greater? Lots! When the spring shows are chosen, three months of rehearsals begin, with regular class meetings extended and others added. The last week is called “tech” (when technical elements such as sound and lights are added), and Players rehearse every day from 4 until 9pm.

Lauren Cocroft at the "table read" for David Copperfield. "In Players, I like the way we feel and act like a family, challenging and allowing ourselves to get out there and get comfortable with the uncomfortable."
They’re ready for the challenge. They’ve been ready since the excitement began in June (with auditions), increased in July (with the news they’d been chosen) and peaked in September (when all the Players got together on the first day of class—to screams of delight as they greeted old friends and met new ones). And what about when the plays are selected and the roles cast? More excitement.

But that’s all just a precursor to the first day of rehearsals, reserved for the “table read,” when the cast members gather at a long table in a bare rehearsal room with no sets, no costumes, no props—only their scripts. Not too exciting?

Saul Richardson in rehearsal for Myth Adventures. "I wanted to pursue my passion for acting in a more intense way, and being a Player brought me into an environment of intensity, professionalism and a higher level of acting"
Players know better. This is the moment to leave outside distractions and concerns behind—and focus. It’s the moment to draw on the years of training that have led to their development as people, as well as actors. They’re prepared to create the best show possible, but they also understand that being an SCR Player is about process—the process of growing a show in rehearsal and deepening the production with an audience.

As they take their places at the table and open the scripts to page one, these Players are confident, knowing they’ll be ready when the time comes to step on stage.

For Hisa, that’s the reward. “After attending class and rehearsing so diligently, it’s wonderful to see these young actors perform before a live audience. They’ll feel the joy.”

And so will everyone in the audience.

Myth Adventures, Five Greek Classics
adapted by Eric Coble
directed by Mercy Vasquez
March 21-22, 28-29, Saturdays at 2 and 5 p.m., Sundays at 1 and 4 p.m.
Learn more and buy tickets here.

Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield
adapted for the stage by Thomas Hischak
Saturday, May 16 at 4 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 17 at 1:30 and 5:00 p.m.; Friday, May 22 at 7:30; Saturday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, May 24 at 1:30 and 5:00 p.m.

Mary Poppins
(For many students, the show goes on—as Summer Players, a larger group of actors, also chosen by audition, after only one year in the program.)
Saturday and Sunday, August 8, 9, 15, 16 at 1 and 5:00 p.m. and Friday, August 14 at 7:00 p.m.

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