First-Year, Kailen Roop, on the Challenges of Returning to the Stage

Kailen shares her thoughts on making her ACT debut

I have been in many plays before but it has been years since I’ve been onstage instead of backstage. I had forgotten how much work is involved in being onstage. There is far much more work involved than it seems. Besides just memorizing lines, an actor must also get into the mind of the character and discover how they would say the line. An actor must embody the character, their mannerisms and their feelings. An actor must think of how that character would move, would react to things, would act while not speaking. This show, Dracula, provides a very specific challenge of dialect. Every character has a dialect, my character Margaret Sullivan, is Irish. I not only have to remember what to say and how to feel, I also have to remember to sound Irish when saying it. However, I can’t sound stereotypically stage Irish I have to sound authentically Irish. This presents a unique challenge for me because I tend to match the accents of those around me. In this play, I have to retain my own dialect when listening to others speaking with Standard British or Cockney dialect. It has been a long time since I was onstage, but being onstage again has reminded me how fun the theatre can be  thought it also brings up old feelings of anxiety. The theatre is a fun-filled place full of imagination and wonder, but it can also be unforgiving. If an actor misses a line on stage or forgets something it can’t be edited out like in film. Every action, every moment is live and unfiltered. So while I’m excited to be onstage again, I’m also nervous. I’m here for the next four years, any mistakes I make now will follow me until I graduate. Nevertheless, I’m excited and ready to try my best.

Story published on October 18, 2017