Three drama students expand their talents to the Grand Theater

Isabel Ortiz-Gelder, Adviser

Tracy High is known for its performing arts magnet. Talented drama students light up the stage during theater performances on campus, but some who are more passionate in the art venture outside of school and participate in productions at the Grand Theater.

Last week, three students starred in an award-winning original play, “Voices”, held at the Grand.

“Voices” follows a young couple, Frank and Jessica from their first blind date up to when their son goes off to college.

Both characters are accompanied by Voices, characters who represent the voices in their heads. These Voices are past experiences that have been collected over the years by the two main characters.

Braden Willis, a sophomore, played Francis, the Voice of Frank’s childhood.

“Because he’s nerdy and juvenile, he is pushed around a lot by the other characters, but he’s a very interesting character to play,” Willis said.

Willis had the freedom to decide what age his character would be.

“I chose somewhere around 10 or 8, somewhere around when he did have a sense of reality, but he didn’t have the sense of responsibility. So, he still has fun and quirkiness to him,” he said.

The environment at the Grand and Tracy High’s stage are very different, according to Willis, who has been acting since his freshman year.

It’s different because you’re working with adults, so it’s much more professional…Even though it’s more professional, you know how to let loose more because the people that you’re working with have been acting for decades and can be relied on more.”

— Braden Willis

Having developed such a love for the art, Willis plans on continuing his participation in productions in and outside of school in the future.
Junior Stephanie Reinheimer has been acting since second grade and claims that being a part of “Voices” has been one of her favorite experiences.

Reinheimer has always played more dramatic roles in plays, but got to experience the switch to a comedic character, Cheerleader, who is a Voice of the lead role.

“I like my character. She’s the innocence, the child, so I’m very juvenile and have to be peppy and positive because I’m the Cheerleader. It’s very tiring but I like a challenge,” she said.

At the end of the play, Reinheimer also plays the role of the girlfriend of Luke, the main characters’ son.

She has enjoyed this opportunity to get into a comedic role and express that side in her acting capabilities, as well as be a part of a community where everyone is there solely for the sake of their passion.

The only other Tracy High student that acted in “Voices” is Sydney McCarthy, a senior.

“I play the characters Sexy and Wife. Sexy is the more flirtatious character who wants to have fun on the dates, and Wife is the eventual character who develops once the couple is married, and appears in her husband’s head,” she said.

For all three actors, the most challenging aspect of the production was memorizing all the lines.

“When you’re playing a Voice, you have to cue off of the actions rather than cue lines, and that’s really hard to pick up on,” McCarthy said.