By Andrew Lindsay & Leila Mostaghimi
Photos by Evan Ng
While acting may be the first thing that comes to mind when someone says “theater,” freshmen like Ruthie Holzer, who work behind the scenes with tech crew on carpentry, costume design and lighting, play an essential role in South’s annual Frosh Play.
Holzer said the Frosh stage crew lets freshmen do hands-on work on a production while learning more about the technical aspects of theater.
“They allow you to come in with no experience whatsoever,” she said. “I was thinking about doing this as a career, so it’s really nice to learn basically all about tech.”
Since Holzer learned about tech crew through word of mouth, she said that she has been motivated to spread the word about the programs South Stage offers, especially Frosh.
“I’ve heard such great things about it. I came on the first day of school because I was so excited,” she said. “I’ve been telling all my friends about it.”
Holzer said that Frosh builds a welcoming community of people with common interests.
“We’re all here because we really like doing tech, building stuff, doing costumes or designing lights and sets, and because we all share a common trait,” she said. “It’s really welcoming, and we all just have fun.”
The two-hour rehearsals three days a week are not a deterrent for freshman Rebecca Ingernman, an actress in three of the nine individual scenes that make up this year’s Frosh production.
Ingerman said that the low-stakes audition process helps ease the transition into high school theater and provides an opportunity to try something new.
“It’s helpful for people who may have not done theater before and then come into high school like, ‘Oh, I kinda want to try that,” she said. “In Frosh, you’re guaranteed a part, and so you get the theater experience, and you get to know whether or not you like it.”
Ingerman said that the friendly rehearsal environment is one of her favorite parts of being in the production.
“It’s really nice because everybody there is also a theater person,” she said. “They’re all your people, and you know everyone there, and you get to know everyone really well.”
Whether on or off the stage, Ingerman said it has been enriching to surround herself with a dedicated group of people also interested in acting.
“[Frosh] puts you in this community [where] you aren’t just doing theater while you’re in it,” she said. “It’s getting you in the theater community for the years to come when you’re actually working on a [non-Frosh] production.”
Freshman Pip Jaramillo plays a wide variety of roles across their three scenes in this year’s Frosh Play. Jaramillo said that participating in the play has helped them feel more comfortable in the high school theater environment.
“I knew I wanted to do some sort of theater program, and I heard that [Frosh] was the one that freshmen did,” they said. “There’s no auditions, you just show up and get a part, so that was pretty great because it’s less nerve-racking.”
Jaramillo said that while the Frosh Play has been more of a commitment than their past experiences with middle school theater, they’ve enjoyed performing with other students equally passionate about acting.
“Not everyone in the middle school plays actually cared about theater. Some of them were just doing it because they had extra time or their parents made them,” they said. “Everyone in high school is doing theater because they are theater kids, and they want to be there.”
Jaramillo said the play’s accepting community has given them a place where they feel free to be themself.
“Theater kids are great. It’s just such a fun community, no one judges anyone because we’re all outrageous,” they said. “We’re all stupid and silly. It’s just a lot of fun.”