(WFRV) – Talking to yourself is usually thought of as weird, but when it’s on stage, it’s welcomed with open arms and called a monologue.
Local high school students were recently able to learn how to mold their masterpieces in a Fox Cities Performing Arts Center (PAC) Center Stage Workshop with an actress, and former Jimmy Award nominee, who tours with the show Mean Girls.
Even though the performances were postponed at the theater, organizers still wanted kids to get feedback and craft their creative skills.
During the workshop, students were able to strut their stuff on a Zoom call with English Bernhardt, who works as a standby for the roles of Cady Heron, Regina George, and Janis Sarkisian. Meaning, Bernhardt has to be ready to play three roles at once – being Regina in the morning show and Janis the next.
“She was so energetic. She had so much energy you could tell that she genuinely honed in on everybody. She was giving the most compassionate feedback ever. When everyone went you could just tell she was their biggest fan. She supported everybody, even if they slipped up. The feedback she gave was so thorough, so detailed, and so centered to who everybody was – not only as actors – but I think she sort of got a vibe on what the people were like so it was based off of that almost,” said Xavi Nohara, a De Pere High School student.
Local 5 was able to meet up with Nohara, who is a Center Stage Student Ambassador, and got to ask how the workshop went on Thursday.
“Everybody prepared a 90 to three-minute monologue. And [English]’s on the cast of Mean Girls – she gave everyone really good feedback. She was super enthusiastic, very, very energetic. We just went through it, watched everyone perform, and it was a lot of fun,” explained Nohara.
The workshop was so jam-packed with eager students that Nohara was not able to do his own monologue, which he explains is a unique piece.
“I would have done a monologue titled ‘About a Goth.’ It’s an English play – it’s a little bit raunchy but it’s about this 17-year-old goth who’s very emo,” said Nohara. “He puts on this face about being emotionally depleted but then the plays about him volunteering at a retirement home so it’s sort of funny in the way that him being around all these elderly citizens sorta juxtaposes his very harsh demeanor.”
Even though they couldn’t get to everyone, Nohara says these workshops and the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program are great experiences for budding artists.
“You get to meet a lot of different people through the workshops, but what I think is really cool about the Center Stage is they really, really encourage you to go and watch other people’s shows at different schools. And so you do meet a lot of people just going to different shows and just seeing them and saying ‘Hey, good job’ and then the connections really stem from there,” explained Nohara.
“I’m just really excited – this year is specific for the big return of the Center Stage awards,” added Nohara. “I think that’s something a lot of people look forward to and it’s just such a tradition that we haven’t been able to have in the last couple of years. I know that it might sound cliche but when you haven’t had something for two or three years and coveted it so much it’s really exciting to have it back.”
Why should you or someone you know go to a workshop? Nohara has the answer.
“I would just say, just in general, even if you don’t think a workshop is centered for you – always be willing to try things. Like, going into it I really didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know what English would be like and she was just a ball of energy,” said Nohara. “So always be open. Everybody was so collaborative, everybody had a lot of respect for each other, so always be willing to try things because at workshops like these there’s no judgment, basically.”
In the end, take a leap of faith, wear pink NOT on a Wednesday, and give it your best shot. You never know what will happen, right? And if you’re interested in what the Fox Cities PAC has to offer, or curious as to when Mean Girls is coming back on stage, just click this link to find out more.