Four students have spent this school year so far preparing for one night on the stage. The students in the Advanced Acting & Directing class will present the full-length play Miracle On South Division Street by Tom Dudzick on Tuesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in the CJ Auditorium. Admission is free.
Mallory Castonguay ‘19, Katie Coyle ‘19, Ashley Gerhard ‘18 and Angelo Moore-Knight ‘18 are not only acting in the production, but also had key roles in directing and choosing the play.
“The acting class encourages a personal, hands-on experience with acting that has only improved my skill and helped me grow in so many different ways,” Coyle said.
“I was interested in taking Advanced Acting & Directing because I had already been in seven productions at that point at CJ, and had directed two One Acts, so I wanted to see what all I could improve on,” reflected Gerhard.
Moore-Knight agreed, “I was interested because it's unlike any other class that CJ has ever had.”
“The show is really fun,” choir and drama teacher Caitlin Bennett said. “Part of the reason for doing this class is to give the opportunity for students who enjoy performing but may not have time after school to be in a full production, plus, being able to do plays we otherwise wouldn’t because of cast size - this gives us an opportunity to do something smaller.”
Miracle on South Division Street is about a woman, Clara, and her three adult children, whose claim to fame is a 20-foot shrine to the Blessed Mother commemorating a night in 1942 when she appeared to Clara's father in his barbershop. Now, one of the children plans to reveal the real story behind the shrine, and the family’s faith is shaken. The results are heartfelt and hilarious.
“This show in particular is fun because it has a lot of Catholic humor - not intentionally or cheezy,” Bennett added.
Gerhard portrays Clara while Castonguay, Coyle and Moore-Knight portray the three adult children.
“I play the role of Beverly, and I find similarities in the role she has as the oldest sibling,” Castonguay noted. “She is very passionate about the activities she does and I feel connected to her.”
Coyle said, “My character is named Ruth. We're both middle children and have a passion for creative hobbies such as cookies, writing, and theater.”
“My character is Jimmy and I connect with him because Jimmy is the youngest and so am I,” Moore-Knight shared.
“I have found a great deal of difficulty trying to connect with my character, Clara, being that she is 45 years older than me; however, I do see a lot of my grandmother in her,” Gerhard said. “She is very modest and very set in her ways, but she does what she does because she loves her family and wants the absolute best for them. Clara has a big loving heart and really wants the best for everyone around her. She reminds me most of what my grandma was like because Clara’s number one priority in life is her family, and that's exactly the same way my grandma was.”
Gerhard noted she became more connected to her character by becoming involved in a national organization.
“When first starting this role, I actually decided to become an official adult member of the Polish National Alliance and decided to attend several meetings while I was there,” Gerhard said.. “I wanted to get to know more people like my character, and my character’s family, and also make it more of a present part of my life.”
The group said they became closer throughout the school year because of the amount of time they spent on this production.
“This production has taken up most of my year and I am proud of the way it is coming out,” Castonguay said. “The show offers a lot of humor that all people will appreciate and a heartwarming story.”
Coyle agreed, “Spending a year doing the same show would probably sound boring to most people, but it has only helped me fall in love with the story and brought Angelo, Ashley, Mallory, and I closer together to create a wonderful finish to the year.”
Posted April 12, 2018