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Freshmen Libby Maier, Ava LaFayette and Fiona Dunlop participate in Shrek the Musical

Lauren Koscielniak, Writer

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As they recite their lines and press on bold, bright make-up, freshmen Libby Maier and Ava Lafayette prepare to take the stage as performers at Starlight Theatre. The girls take on lead roles as Fiona (Maier) and Lord Farquaad (LaFayette) in Shrek the Musical. Joining the two, is freshman Fiona Dunlop, who contributes behind the stage.

“I decided to audition for the show because I missed all of my friends at Starlight Theatre from my previous shows,” Maier said. “I was not super familiar with Shrek, and before the musical, I didn’t really like [Shrek], so I wanted to try something new. I never in a million years thought I would be playing a lead role as Fiona; it made me feel amazing that I had finally earned [a lead] role.”

After auditions took place, rehearsals started Dec. 1. Cast and crew members had three months to prepare for the final shows.

“The more you practice, the bigger the impact,” LaFayette said. ”[The entire cast and crew] only rehearses together once a week and the more rehearsals, the better we do. The best part about practices is hanging out with amazing people I meet at theater; all these people are very talented and funny, it is fun to be around them. As Lord Farquaad, I got so many laughs- it was an amazing experience.”

Just as cast members practice their lines and songs, crew members partake in other work, such as pulling curtain and moving props backstage to minimize mistakes in front of the audience.

“I have been working backstage for the shows,” Dunlop said, “I never actually tried out for a part in the musical. Basically, I switch the scenes and occasionally move props around for the performers during shows. To me, it is important because I enjoy being backstage and watching the actors perform, even while I have a job of my own. Backstage is important to the production as a whole because it moves the scenes, and therefore the show along.”

For Dunlop, there is a mutual amount of work backstage as there is onstage. From her peers, she receives credit for pulling ropes and rearranging props, just as they do from performing.

“I do feel that people give me enough credit,” Dunlop said. “There are so many amazing people- both adults and teens- that put their all into making the show work, and being a part of that group is credit enough.Overall, people give me physical and verbal credit as well, and I am very grateful for that.”

Whether she works in the spotlight or as a supporting cast member, LaFayette returns to the theatre at every opportunity presented.

“I keep going back to the stage,” LaFayette said.” When I perform, it gives me so much joy and if I can perform and give others joy at least for a minute, it gives me even more reason to keep going no matter how difficult the role is.”

After performing in Shrek the Musical, Maier, LaFayette and Dunlop all hope to return to Starlight Theatre for the next musical, Disney’s ‘Frozen’, at a later time.

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