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Humans of Harker: Maxwell Woehrmann acts incisively

%E2%80%9CEven+when+it%27s+the+15th+time+you%27ve+done+the+scene%2C+it%27s+still+a+new+experience+and+there%27re+still+new+things+to+be+discovered%2C%E2%80%9D+Maxwell+Woehrmann+%2812%29+said.+%E2%80%9CYou+can+always+strive+for+better+during+rehearsal+and+finally+when+it+comes+to+the+show%2C+just+a+seconds+before+I+go+on+stage.+That%27s+why+I+do+theater%2C+it%27s+for+the+seconds+before+I+go+on+stage+because+I+feel+very+alive.+You%27re+so+aware.+You%27re+full+of+adrenaline.+Your+fight+or+flight+response+is+kicking+in%2C+and+you%27re+about+to+go+on+stage+and+cannot+forget+your+lines.+It%27s+very+intense+and+I%27ve+learned+to+kind+of+crave+the+anxiety+that+comes+with+performing.%E2%80%9D
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Humans of Harker: Maxwell Woehrmann acts incisively

“Even when it's the 15th time you've done the scene, it's still a new experience and there're still new things to be discovered,” Maxwell Woehrmann (12) said. “You can always strive for better during rehearsal and finally when it comes to the show, just a seconds before I go on stage. That's why I do theater, it's for the seconds before I go on stage because I feel very alive. You're so aware. You're full of adrenaline. Your fight or flight response is kicking in, and you're about to go on stage and cannot forget your lines. It's very intense and I've learned to kind of crave the anxiety that comes with performing.”

“Even when it's the 15th time you've done the scene, it's still a new experience and there're still new things to be discovered,” Maxwell Woehrmann (12) said. “You can always strive for better during rehearsal and finally when it comes to the show, just a seconds before I go on stage. That's why I do theater, it's for the seconds before I go on stage because I feel very alive. You're so aware. You're full of adrenaline. Your fight or flight response is kicking in, and you're about to go on stage and cannot forget your lines. It's very intense and I've learned to kind of crave the anxiety that comes with performing.”

Darren Gu

“Even when it's the 15th time you've done the scene, it's still a new experience and there're still new things to be discovered,” Maxwell Woehrmann (12) said. “You can always strive for better during rehearsal and finally when it comes to the show, just a seconds before I go on stage. That's why I do theater, it's for the seconds before I go on stage because I feel very alive. You're so aware. You're full of adrenaline. Your fight or flight response is kicking in, and you're about to go on stage and cannot forget your lines. It's very intense and I've learned to kind of crave the anxiety that comes with performing.”

Darren Gu

Darren Gu

“Even when it's the 15th time you've done the scene, it's still a new experience and there're still new things to be discovered,” Maxwell Woehrmann (12) said. “You can always strive for better during rehearsal and finally when it comes to the show, just a seconds before I go on stage. That's why I do theater, it's for the seconds before I go on stage because I feel very alive. You're so aware. You're full of adrenaline. Your fight or flight response is kicking in, and you're about to go on stage and cannot forget your lines. It's very intense and I've learned to kind of crave the anxiety that comes with performing.”

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Among his friends, Maxwell Woehrmann (12) is known for his mischievous personality and clever sense of humor, but once he steps into the rehearsal room, his demeanor shifts completely. He channels his characteristic playful energy into diligent focus, and he adopts a more reserved manner of behavior, concentrating his attention on the scene at hand.

This shift in composure is in part a response to the intensity of performance. Up until the performance itself, Maxwell tirelessly works towards the improvement of his scenes, knowing that his efforts in rehearsal will pay off onstage.

“Even when it’s the 15th time you’ve done the scene, it’s still a new experience and there’re still new things to be discovered,” he said. “You can always strive for better during rehearsal and finally when it comes to the show, just a seconds before I go on stage. That’s why I do theater, it’s for the seconds before I go on stage because I feel very alive. You’re so aware. You’re full of adrenaline. Your fight or flight response is kicking in, and you’re about to go on stage and cannot forget your lines. It’s very intense and I’ve learned to kind of crave the anxiety that comes with performing.”

In fact, Maxwell likes to spend the moments right before each scene reviewing the script backstage in order to ensure that he knows the lines as best as he can.

“I just do that to make sure I know what I’m doing because in the heat of the moment, it’s really easy to mess up or forget what scene you are even in at this point,” he says. “I just kind of relax and know the lines better than anyone else and know everyone else’s lines in the scene. Just in case they forget their lines, I know what comes next and who says it and I can help the scene move along in case something were to go wrong.”

Maxwell’s ability to stay calm under pressure has led him to enjoy not only performance but also the process of auditioning for a show.

“I enjoy having to put myself out there in an intense situation, so having to do a monologue knowing that how I perform influences what the director decides for me and then going to callbacks—it’s really having to put my best foot forward if I want to get a role,” he said.

Maxwell first realized the depth of his passion for theater in eighth grade, when his sister, Zoë Woehrmann (‘15), recommended that he audition to play a child in the upper school performance of the play “Anonymous.”

“My friends and I would just hang out with him, and I’d be glad that he got that early bonding with the theater community and with our director because I know that it became something that was very important to him,” Zoë said. “Everyone just accepted him as another actor instead of looking at him as very young or something like that.”

Maxwell’s early introduction into the upper school Conservatory also gave him the opportunity to participate in a more intense rehearsal process than he had experienced at the middle school.

“That kind of reignited my interest in theater, [which] had kind of died out during middle school, and just being part of that very serious production, where the auditioning process was stricter, the actors wanted to do it more, and there’s better training—just being part of that made me really excited to go to high school,” he said.

Since then, Maxwell has participated in many upper school productions, and as a Conservatory major in theater, he received his certificate of completion during Senior Showcase last month, when he performed a scene with his friend and fellow actor Markus Wong (12).

The scene, taken from Arthur Miller’s drama “All My Sons,” stood starkly in contrast to Maxwell’s recent work in comedy, yet the intensity of the scene seemed to match the intensity of Maxwell’s commitment to theater.

“He really got into his character,” Markus said. “There were certain times when he would just instinctively mess something up… not because he’s messing up but because he’s in the zone.”

Outside of rehearsal and performance, Maxwell adopts a more lighthearted tone in his academic work and in his interactions with friends and family. For example, he enjoys pulling pranks with his friends or his sister, often in a clever and artful manner.

“If he’s pulling a prank… he’ll do it in a much more sneaky way—and honestly probably way more interesting and way more in depth—than the way I would do it, and he’s just very calculated in such a fun way,” Zoë said. “He brings that sort of attitude to his friends and his schoolwork… [he’s] a bit mischievous but having fun with everything that he does.”

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Humans of Harker: Maxwell Woehrmann acts incisively