Student Directed Showcase directors host showcase auditions

SDS directors Haley Keller (12), Sameep Mangat (12), Anika Banga (12) and Jessica Skinner (12) take notes during the initial round of auditions on Monday and Tuesday.

Vivian Jin

SDS directors Haley Keller (12), Sameep Mangat (12), Anika Banga (12) and Jessica Skinner (12) take notes during the initial round of auditions on Monday and Tuesday. “To be able to share all of that [with them] is incredible… to teach something you’re so personally passionate about is just a joy,” performing arts director Laura Lang-Ree said.

by Vivian Jin, Reporter

Over 50 students of all grades and acting levels auditioned for the annual Student Directed Showcase (SDS) on Monday and Tuesday in performing arts director Laura Lang-Ree’s room.

Callbacks for the showcase were posted on Schoology at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, and they were held on Wednesday and Thursday. Each auditionee followed a rotating schedule so that all four directors could watch their callback audition. The final cast list, featuring 41 cast members, was posted on Schoology on Thursday.

This year’s directors, Anika Banga (12), Haley Keller (12), Sameep Mangat (12) and Jessica Skinner (12), are directing the shows “The Murderous Mansion of Mr. Uno,” “Imperfect Proposal,” “Rabbit Hole” and “Chamber Music,” respectively. Auditions were scheduled at office hours, lunch and after school on Monday and Tuesday.

Directors admitted students into the audition room in groups of six to perform their preselected monologue excerpts while the four student directors sat at a table and evaluated their performances.

The student directors did their best to welcome auditionees beforehand by asking icebreaker questions and going over the audition schedule. Each audition lasted around a minute or less, with the directors taking notes in between.

“I chose one of the monologues posted on Schoology and practiced it over and over… then added the gestures and actions,” Dilara Ezer (11) said.

While some auditioning students had participated in previous Harker productions, others decided to try performing arts for the first time.

“It’s my senior year… why not give it a shot?” first-time auditionee Tanvi Singh (12) said. “I’ve never really tried acting before, and taking on a whole new character and empathizing with them [is] very different, and I liked it.”

Vivian Jin
Tanvi Singh (12) prepares to hurl her wadded-up monologue sheet. Auditions for the showcase were held on Monday and Tuesday, with callbacks held on Wednesday and Thursday.

Each year, Lang-Ree selects the student directors and advises them throughout their masters level course, guiding them through the process of managing and directing a production with their peers as their cast.

“They’re taken through the steps of the play analysis,” she said. “[I teach them] in class through assignments and reading, and then we apply them to the actual shows. To be able to share all of that [with them] is incredible… to teach something you’re so personally passionate about is just a joy.”

The two performances of the SDS shows will take place on Jan. 5 and 6.