Places for scene two

Theater’s shows impact on individuals


Photo by Peyton Sims

Seniors Mason Smallwood and Zane Johnston rehearse for the upcoming fall play “Puffs.” Ticket can be preordered for the Nov. 7, 8 and 9 showing.

Story by Zoe Rushing, staff writer

Practicing for hours all throughout the week. Auditioning for the roles they desire. Performing at the end of it all and getting a round of applause. Being in theater gives many opportunities and can impact the students that participate in many ways.

Senior Zane Johnston and sophomore Dan Zwirn reflect on what brought them to the theater program and the impact it’s had on them individually.

“Initially, I wanted to do theater because it seemed like something fun, and I was really shy,” Johnston said. “I thought it would help me get more confidence and get out of my shell a little bit, and it definitely has.” 

“Theater has always been a part of my life,” Zwirn said. “I used to be part of the Downtown Youth Theatre until it tragically closed in 2014. Also, my entire family grew up theater kids, so there was no way I’d be anything else.”  

Theater provides many opportunities for different individuals. Thanks to this, members are introduced to many different people. This has allowed both Zwirn and Johnston to make groups of friends that share the same interest as them. 

“I love performing, but my favorite part of being [in] theater is the rehearsals because you get to spend so much time with everybody,” Johnston said. “They’re just really fun. It’s such a fun environment.”

The atmosphere is what keeps members coming back. 

“Everyone is so welcoming and kind. We all come from different backgrounds,” Zwirn said. “It’s really easy to make friends which isn’t always true with the other groups or clubs I was in.”

For Johnston, being in theater, performing and having to audition for his parts has given him a new layer of confidence in and out of the auditorium. Zwirn said [auditioning] helped for performances, but anxiety is still a difficult battle for them, even now.

“Auditioning initially was really scary,” Johnston said. “Over time, [it gets] to the point where [you] actually kind of enjoy it because it’s a chance to just act, and you get to pick what you are distant with.”

Zwirn has become confident when they perform, but speaking in public otherwise is still a fight they have to overcome daily. 

“I’ve learned to control some of my stage fright by reminding myself that the adrenaline I use to run away from danger is the same adrenaline I use to hold my ground and blow the audience away,” Zwirn said. “But the anxiety of presenting in front of people as myself doesn’t go away.” 

Tiger Theatre Company’s fall play, “Puffs,” is approaching soon and will be one of Johnston’s last high school theater performances. Zwirn, whose first name will be listed as Elora in the play’s programs, has two more years in the company and may even continue acting after graduation.

“I really love theater, and it’s a great outlet for creativity, so I can see myself doing this for years and years if I have any say in it,” Zwirn said.