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Thespian Society Members Get Ready To Perform In "13 Ways To Screw Up Your College Interview"

“13 Ways To Screw Up Your College Interview” Takes The Stage

“13 Ways To Screw Up Your College Interview” made its opening debut Friday December 3rd at Nutley High School. Both cast and audience members discussed how they felt the play went, and their feelings towards both the play and their performance. Before this performance took place, hardworking students practiced after school, and at lunch perfecting their parts, making absolutely sure the show was a hit…and it sure was!


Every stop possible was pulled out for this show, and it makes you wonder does this stuff ever actually happen in college interviews? The play took place in room A329, with the  stage perfectly set up consisting of a table with  two chairs and  two black curtains to make it appear as a black box theatre.


The audience seats were set up ideal for social distancing, and all cast  and audience members wore masks. The play ran 40 minutes long, with no intermission. There were two performances with one debuting at six and the following seven thirty. 


The audience seats filled up quickly as everyone got eager to watch the show. Meanwhile backstage before the show the performers got into a circle, held hands, and took some deep breaths, as the president of The Thespian Society Allison Scorsone gave a small and encouraging speech.


When finished the performers took the stage, with the two interviewers Ashlyn Kurtzmann and Cassandra Mckinney making their first appearance. Both Kurtzmann and Mckinney had the audience convulsing with laughter as they discussed with one another about needing one more person to fill a spot for their college. Both Mckinney and Kurtzmann enjoyed fulfilling these roles. “I am very happy with my role, It’s my first play so it's kind of fun to see myself doing something new on stage,” Kurtzmann stated. Following that more performers began heading out to the stage.


The audience watched as these hilarious interviews took place, as the next went further south then the last.  The audience was rolling whether it was a magician, creepy stalker, or even a man with chronaquestimixidous, these interviews could not get any worse. 


One performance in particular took the audience's breath away. Valeria Flores who played Kim, a high school student who is a stuck up snob getting her chance on national television, it is evident that Kim is only at this meeting to gain her way to fame and make a joke out of the interviewer. Flores played this part perfectly, with not only comical facial reactions, but also amusing lines. It was evident that she had practiced a great deal for this part, and she did not disappoint. 


Something that stayed extremely consistent throughout the night was the performers enthusiasm. It was evident that they were ready for this performance, their attitudes were very energetic and upbeat. Many of them were just overjoyed to be back doing what they love after a long year without it.


Cast member Fabian Hattem states "It's an amazing feeling to be back doing what we love! Especially for the seniors with it being our last year." His fellow cast members could not agree more.  “It's so great I have been in basically every show in my time at NHS. I'm a senior now so connecting  with this community is fantastic. It's  great to be back doing what I love,” Cassandra Mckinney explained.


Covid had a very tough impact on the theatre community in particular, with shows and performances getting canceled and completely stopping  due to the virus's long lasting effects. When everyday life began going back to normal  NHS decided to begin having performances again just with more precautions.


This was especially exciting for the seniors because this is one of their last performances here at NHS. An aspect of this play I admired was the fact that the performers did not let the virus's effects affect them during this play, they acted as though it was another normal show. 


Throughout the night the performers had the audience laughing without hesitation with their facial reactions, lines, and comedic gestures. The audience consisted of people of all ages whether it was a child, student, or adult. An admirable trait about this play was it fit every age gap.


No matter the age, everyone got a good laugh out of these talented performers. Audience member Jackie Kurtzmann had this to say about the play and the performers. “The whole thing made me laugh, the level of talent is shocking. I am very impressed by the level of talent these students have.” 


Although the play was quick, it fit in a tremendous amount of material, making it full of comedical aspects. The performers were able to get each small skit done quickly, and move onto the next. 


An aspect that was both surprising and interesting was the fact that this play was ran fully by the students. The parts were all chosen by the president of The Thespian Society Allison Scorsone, and all of the rehearsals were set up by the students. It was supervised by Mr. Gurrieri the theatre and English teacher here at NHS.


I applaud this idea because it shows the amount of skill and talent the students have. Mr. Gurrieri had this to say when asked how he thought they did with this show being only students ran. “Awesome, very impressed with the whole production team. They landed jokes, had sharp timing, and  Allison did a really good job with casting the show. She has a very good sense of all their strengths which is a sign of a really good director.”


Many of the audience members were surprised to find out that this was only student ran due to the fact of how rigorous it is to put on a production, as well as how professional it was ran. Others felt it was not surprising due to the talent the students withhold. “I wasn't surprised, I have seen the Thespian club put on other performances prior to Covid which was also ran by students. The students in this club are very talented and I really enjoyed the show.” Daysi Hattem explained. It truly shines a light on the immense amount of talent these students withhold. 


As much as it seems that these students are loving performing, the nerves do get hectic at moments. When asked how it feels dealing with nerves during a performance Diogo Ramirez stated  “when I get up to perform it feels like the nerves overtake, and I feel like I'm going to pass out but there's a rush that comes along with it.” During this play there was no shortage of nervousness, but the performers were able to power through it, and continue on.


Many of the performers believe those nerves help push them to make the role come to life. “The nerves don't really affect me anymore, and when I get them it makes me feel empowered to go out and ace my role.” Fabian Hattem said. All of the performers face nerves differently, but in this show it was evident they did not interfere with the performance. 


My overall synopsis of this play was it was absolutely remarkable. The performers were outstanding and fulfilled their parts perfectly. Each individual has immense talent, and potential. To see the work it takes to memorize lines, act like the part you're portraying, take time out of your day to rehearse and make sure it's perfect, and have the confidence to get up on stage, shows how much these performers truly love their craft.


I especially relished in watching the interactions they all had with one another. The NHS theatre  department as a whole is like a family, they all care for one another and love each other. They want to see each other succeed. I noticed that the seniors seem to be mentors to the younger classmen, helping them with specific things backstage.


Throughout the play I was in stitches, I could not stop laughing. I was also very surprised that it was only ran by students because of the fact that it was so well put together. Everyone knew what they were doing and had their role to play. The play as a whole took my breath away, and I was very pleased with it.


Both performances were on point and perfectly put together. Each role given to the performers fit them, and it was amusing to watch.  If you would like to watch “13 Ways To Screw Up Your College Interview” it was recorded and posted on the Nutley Thespian’s Society website. Link to the play