Alex Nolan, one of Hillside’s own veteran actors, will be taking the stage tonight at Studio-East’s production of Macbeth, directed by Simon Pringle. Alex will be lending her considerable talent and experience to the roles of Duncan, King of Scotland and Siward, Earl of Northumberland, general of the English forces.
The play, known among theatre circles as “The Scottish Play” because it is said to bring bad luck if the actual title is spoken, is a tale of brutality and deception. It shines a light on some of our more base instincts. It’s not an easy play to perform under the best circumstances but the teen ensemble has had some unusual challenges.
The decision to do the play came only in January. Alex was actually out of town competing in a horse show when the rumors began to fly that the ensemble would be given the opportunity to perform. A little later the “official email” arrived giving the members a choice between Twelfth Nightor Macbeth. Alex and her fellow actors were hands down in favor of Macbeth.
The late announcement lead to a shortened rehearsal period worked around other groups that were using the space – not the easiest of conditions. But Alex refers to her fellow actors as “dedicated, hard working, loving what they are doing and exhausted.” In fact, they are so engaged in the process that the group is hoping to mount their own production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a park this summer.
Asked what has been the most challenging aspect of the production for her, Alex points to the scene where Siward learns that his son has died in battle. Alex wants to convey the depth of feeling behind Siward’s stoic façade; to get the audience to reflect on the loss before the moment is swept away by the dramatic entrance of McDuff with Macbeth’s bloody head.
Alex has spent a lot of time honing her theatrical skills. She went to theatre camp until she was twelve or thirteen, spent some time with the Bellevue Youth Theatre, joined Studio East’s Teen Ensemble for their recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and of course has had many wonderful roles in the dramatic productions staged at Hillside.
Alex loves being part of the Hillside drama program, “Jean does a great job with it, teaching kids the skills needed to be good actors and building their confidence at the same time.” She explained, “If you’re going to be in a play, you need to trust in others, and be able to live up to the trust others have in you…. I love how many people come out of the Hillside drama program willing to take risks and to look silly, knowing that the play will be better and they will have more fun for having done so.” Alex also appreciates the improvisational work she does in the weekly drama class, “That is actually a pretty rare thing in youth theater today; a solid improv education can be a huge deal. I know lots of really talented young actors who freeze up when you ask them to act without a script. So I’d say the Drama program at Hillside is fantastic.”
Please go see the performance. It should be an amazing show. And then come back here and share your experience in the comment section of this post.
“Macbeth” will be performed by Studio East’s Teen Ensemble on April 29, 30 and May 6, 7 at 7:30. More info at (425) 820-1800 www.studio-east.org — all tickets $10.