Upcoming production stretches seniors' theater skills

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Willimantic - posted Tue., Nov. 27, 2012
Emily Brolin (left) and Sam Chace rehearse a scene from a one-act based on Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women.'  Photos by Melanie Savage.
Emily Brolin (left) and Sam Chace rehearse a scene from a one-act based on Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women.' Photos by Melanie Savage.

It was cold and dark outside, but inside the Windham High School auditorium, under the bright stage lights, it was warm and cozy as students rehearsed on Nov. 26 for an upcoming Windham Players production. The fall production, a duo of senior-directed one-acts and a third short based on Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” was still almost two weeks away and some of the actresses were having a hard time remembering their lines. “Do you need to use your script?” asked director and teacher Vince Iovine. “Yes,” came the answer. “Go get it, then,” said Iovine.

The “Little Women” one-act utilizes just one male actor, with another male part being played by actress Sam Chace. It also features a holiday theme, as does the one-act, “The Gift,” being directed by senior Chace. “It’s about these women who discover a gift,” she said. “It’s also sort of a coming-of-age story.” Chace said she chose the piece because, as a first-time director, a piece comprised of all monologues was more appropriate for her skill level. “It’s easier for me as a director to focus on one character at a time,” she said.

The third piece, called "Caught in the Act," is directed by seniors Jesse Dunnack and Stephanie Quinn. “It’s kind of a virtual reality show,” said Iovine, “where the characters are talking about the writers who created them.” Dunnack and Quinn “are both very accomplished actors,” said Iovine.

Iovine is experiencing a bit of a rebuilding year, having lost a total of 17 seniors to graduation this summer. Of the actors appearing in the “Little Women” piece, one is still in elementary school, one is in middle school, and the majority of them are freshmen and sophomores at Windham. Of the three seniors in the piece, Jared Starkey, is the lone male actor. “He just made the decision last year that he wants to do theater going forward,” said Iovine. Starkey has been working on his singing and dancing skills, is practicing his monologues, and will be attending an audition workshop at the Goodspeed Opera House.

“I was always on the line,” said Starkey. "I finally decided that if you’re going to do something for the rest of your life, you want to love what you’re doing.”

The Goodspeed workshop will help to prepare Starkey to audition for colleges. His top choice would be Emerson in Boston, followed by UConn, Western Connecticut, and the Boston Conservatory. Starkey said his love for theater evolved through involvement with the Windham Players, as well as stints in community theater. “I was in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ this year with the Windham Theater Guild,” said Starkey. “I just really love being up on the stage.”

The opening performance for the Windham Players’ fall production is Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m., with following 7 p.m. shows on Dec. 7 and 8.  There will also be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 9. Contact Iovine at 860-377-4695 for more information. Windham High School is located at 355 High St., in Willimantic.

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