Notes of a Ladyhawk

posted by Arianna Papalexopoulos, A.C.T. Young Conservatory student and Volleygirls cast member

I’m flabbergasted that opening night has already past and saddened that closing night is approaching so quickly. We have become such a tight-knit family that I can’t bear the thought of parting from my cast members, director, and crew members. Isn’t it funny that while we are immersed in an amazing run we already ponder what will occur when it ends? Why can’t we just live in the moment? I know I will miss climbing on the MUNI train with my fellow cast member Jacqueline Toboni, and struggling for weeks to perfect my “air-volleyball” technique. I know that I will also miss my character, Marisol Hernandez. Where else will I be able to channel my inner Latina with such exuberance?

For me, the week of tech rehearsals was a delightful experience. The cast was fortunate to meet the amazingly talented playwright of Volleygirls, Rob Ackerman. Rob’s enthusiasm and eagerness have brought all of us into deeper contact with our characters and their intentions. His ardor for this show has shone through each conversation he has had with us. I remember the first time he saw the show during tech rehearsals. We all were curious to see what he had to say after the hard work we had put in during our rehearsals at 30 Grant [where A.C.T.’s offices and studios are located]. He ran down the steps with a huge grin on his face and expressed his utter enchantment with each character. He offered constructive criticism on how to tweak certain lines and perfect certain scenes, but Rob’s enthusiasm clearly catalyzed a higher level of energy for me and Marisol Hernandez.

Participating in this play has really been a challenging and revelatory experience. After playing Maria Merelli in Lend Me a Tenor in the fall play at my high school, St. Ignatius College Preparatory, and now having the opportunity to play this spunky, Latina teen, I have realized the especially hard work that goes into creating such ethnically diverse characters. I have also learned a great deal from working as a YC member in a collaborative show with M.F.A. actors. Before this play I had only seen actors of that caliber from my seat in the audience, but their professionalism and unique talent have shown me what I want to aspire to become as an actress. Not only have I been blessed with such a talented cast, but I have also had the great joy of working with David Keith as my director. His intelligence, humor, and patience consistently put me at ease and allowed me to reach new heights in my craft. If this is anything like what I will experience in my collegiate theater program next year, I couldn’t be more excited!

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