The Acting Conservatory program at Imagination Stage is one of our theatre’s most rigorous training programs for young actors. After a year and a half of studying concepts such as character building, script analysis, physicality, vocal skills, and scene work, the students’ final semester is spent working with a director and a team of designers from the DC professional theatre community.
This year, the Acting Conservatory Class of 2017 will present their production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Snow Angel. This professionally polished production represents a graduation ceremony for these young actors, but instead of caps and gowns, the students wear hats and gloves to take you on a mysterious snow day adventure. When the quiet town of Deerpoint, Vermont is hit by the biggest blizzard in 107 years, a mysterious girl named Eva steps out of a snow bank and into the lives of 14 confused teenagers who are asked to help her in her search. What Eva’s searching for —and who she truly is—becomes a mystery that baffles, divides, and energizes the teens of Deerpoint. Told through journal entries and interactions among the students over the course of a single day, Snow Angel is a funny and eerie tale of teen angst, discovery, and the power of believing.
We were lucky to have the opportunity to sit down with Stage Manager and current Education Apprentice, Paulina Campbell, to discuss her experience working on the show.
Can you tell us about your role on the production team?
My main role is to be a support person. That means I’m there to keep everyone organized. That means everything from communicating with the parents, and with the students, to keeping track ofattendance.. In rehearsal, I keep track of all the blocking and the props. That way when we go into tech week, I’ll be able to talk the designers through how the show works. I’m also coordinating the props for the show, so I have been pulling and/or making all the props. Generally, I am maintaining the channels of communication between the parents, students, director, designers, and IStage staff.
You stage managed the ISPE (IStage Performance Ensemble) show, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR, earlier this year. .What differences do you notice between these two ensembles?
One of the things that is really cool about how this rehearsal process works is that the students are together for a year and a half before they get to production. What that means is that from day one, walking into the rehearsal room, they are already an ensemble. The director and I had to get to know them, but they already had this really tight bond. I think that has made a show about friendship and connection that much easier. Yes, they have learned a lot about acting, and yes, I’ve seen them come a long way as actors, but they are also a really tight group of friends.
What have been your favorite moments from the rehearsal process?
One night, we finished rehearsal earlyand had an indoor snowball fight! On a more general note, I’v enjoyed the moments of fine tuning and adding depth to scenes. The actors have started to connect to their characters more deeply. It’s been very exciting for me to see that and to be so caught up in the scene even though I’ve seen it a hundred times.
In your own words, tell us why audiences should see this production.
People should come see the show because the actors have worked really, really hard on it. This is their celebration of what they have learned through the Acting Conservatory, and I think they have come a really long way from where we started in January. I think the show itself is an interesting exploration of community, as well as the power of storytelling to both divide us and bring us together. It’s very simple and very sweet, and I think people will enjoy that.
On the first day of the rehearsal process, the students of the Acting Conservatory class of 2017 set a goal to get people to appreciate non-musical theatre. Paulina Campbell, the stage manager and “guardian angel” of the Snow Angel cast believes they achieved their goal. You won’t want to miss it!
The show runs April 28-30 in the Christopher and Dana Reeve Studio Theatre. Buy tickets here!