From 'Rydell High' to ASU: Students juggle stage and school life

ASU students balance school and stage life

Memorizing lines, creating the set, adjusting the lighting, creating costumes and enduring long rehearsals are only a fraction of the work involved in a play. For some ASU students, the struggle to put on a successful show can sometimes collide with other responsibilities, including schoolwork.

A group of students at ASU are taking part in the production of Grease at the Greasepaint Youth Theatre in Scottsdale and are dealing with the struggle of balancing stage life and school life. 

Savannah Thompson, an art production sophomore, said that in order to hold two jobs, school and perform in the  theater, she keeps an organized schedule to keep herself from falling behind. 

Google Calendars is my best friend,” Thompson said. 

Thompson said students who are pursuing acting should not view rehearsal as another piece of work that they are juggling in their schedule.

“Believe in yourself and know that you are doing this for a reason," she said. "This is your outlet and it is supposed to be fun. Try not to get caught up in (thinking) that it is hard and time consuming, because ultimately it is for your health and well being.”

She added that keeping a positive mindset while having a busy schedule has helped her through the work. 

“It is a matter of saying I can do it," she said. "It’s a lot, but keep pushing through.” 

Although a typical day of rehearsal for these students consisted of the same: practicing one scene, performers said the dynamic between the performers was constantly shifting.

“Everything is different," said Thompson. "There are always different energies between cast mates and directors, we do not always run the show in order, or we need to fix things that need to be worked out."

Keegan Luther, a film production freshman, playing Kenickie in Grease, said that sometimes it is easy to for students to psych themselves out when confronted with a large amount of work. 

“There is a time when you start getting in your head, of just thinking about things and, once you over think and think 'this is so much stuff that you have to do,' you start to psych yourself out," Luther said. "But really it's only (a few) things and (you) could probably get it done in an hour."

Luther also said it is important to remember the play is an extracurricular and is meant to be fun. 

“You have to acknowledge that this is a commitment, that at least for me, has been a great break from everything,” he said.

Theater freshman Grant Roberts, who is playing Sonny, said rehearsal can take up to three hours, and there is a pressure to be there early to get more practice in. 

“If you are on time, you’re late, and if you are early, you’re on time,” Roberts said.

Over the past two weeks the cast has been rehearsing the play all the way through and doubling down on fixing scenes that still had issues.

However, even off the stage, after singing and practicing lines with other cast mates, rehearsal does not stop for the ASU students. The actors also have to take work home with them. Once they are taught a scene or song once during rehearsal, they are expected to know it. 

“You are taught it and then you are expected to go refine it on your own,” Luther said. 

However, despite the stress that comes along with being a part of the play," he said, it gives students the chance to not only meet new people, but to be another person. 

“You go there and it is kind of freeing,” Luther said. “You get to be somebody else for a couple of hours and then you just go back home to your life.”

Grease will be held at the Greasepaint Theater from Feb.10 - 19 and tickets can be bought over the phone or online.

Editor's note: theater major Grant Roberts previously worked for The State Press as an arts and culture reporter. He no longer works for the publication.


Reach the reporter at editomass@asu.edu or follow @emily_ditomasso on Twitter.

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