Seniors Say Goodbye to the Stage


Seniors Emma Bullen and Colin Abbott.

Just beyond the stage awaits an audience in dim lighting; just above the stage shines a spotlight with all its brilliance. For many, walking on the platform would have them sick with apprehension. Yet, in the case of three long-time drama club members, there is comfort in that familiar anxiety — comfort that will grow to become nostalgic as these seniors take their final bow.

Alyssa Baydak, Emma Bullen, and drama club president Lillian Swenson have been in theater all four years of their high school careers. With the recent closing of their final club production, Cinderella, it came time for them to part with the stage and, more importantly, their fellow cast members.

“[Drama] has essentially made my whole high school experience,” said Bullen. “It’s probably the only reason I stayed in high school instead of just dropping out sophomore year. It was the hope of reconnecting with all these people, to experience this with them.”

For Bullen, the theater has played a significant role in their personality and expression of self, which they deem “is the whole point of drama, to express yourself on stage and be loud.”

There is a rare sort of self-expression club president Swenson says is exclusive to the stage: being able to give life to your role.

“I use theater as a way to see what it’s like to be a different person,” said Swenson. “I personally don’t think I’m a meanie, but it’s fun to just be someone who you’re not.”

As vital as being in character is, they emphasize that there is no shame in being yourself; nothing is more valuable than the unique qualities each member brings to the table. Every actor holds the same amount of responsibility and impact in their scenes as in their club environment.

“I think you won’t find a more diverse group of people than you will in drama club,” said Baydak. “We’re all so different yet we’re all in this together.”

Performing on stage is only a fraction of the work. To Baydak, working so frequently with others has proved a challenging yet rewarding experience.

“It’s so different from every other club, it takes not only so much work but emotional commitment,” said Baydak.

The confidence and skills developed in the theater will take these far, whether that be to a design studio or an even larger stage. Swenson has been recently accepted into the American Musical and Dramatic Academy of New York; she has a bright future and even brighter lights awaiting her.

“My other friends who aren’t in the drama club can pick on me. They say, ‘oh gosh, theater kids,’ but I take pride in it,” said Baydak. “You’ll never have another experience like high school drama club.”