Theatre Department senior Gabriella Barone was recently interviewed by Visual Arts Department junior Audrey Landgren for the school newspaper Highlights. See the full interview below!
What is your favorite production or theatre piece you’ve worked on at The Academy?
My favorite theatre piece is difficult for me to determine. I enjoyed so many pieces in a variety of ways, because they all made me grow differently. I really enjoyed working on the one-act piece that I directed from Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries. Rajiv Joseph is one of my favorite playwrights, so to be able to make a section of one of his plays come to life was an experience I won't forget. Gruesome Playground Injuries is a series of scenes that follows the lives of two characters, Doug and Kayleen. It jumps back and forth between time periods over the course of 30 years, marking moments of connection, and lack thereof through physical injuries. I chose a more innocent scene that takes place during a school dance. I loved finding moments throughout the process that I wanted to nurture further, and working with my actors in order to help them grow, instead of telling them what to do. I worked really hard on giving my piece a technical aesthetic by setting it in the 80's. I felt that this piece showed the beginning of my directing career!
What activities are you involved in outside of school?
Outside of school I work at the Chicago Park District as a Recreation Leader. During the school year I volunteer and play with kids after school. During the summer I watch over 20 kids for 6 weeks, going on field trips, participating in the park's Olympics, and doing arts and crafts with them. I love my park a lot; it's where I met all my friends and grew up. I've been going to the cultural center there since I was 5 years old, and I consider it a second home. My bosses Sam and Lauren are two of my inspirations and good friends. They set up my friends and I to be well-rounded people ready for any task. This past year I was nominated for Junior Citizen of the Year for the Chicago Park District and made it to the regionals, alongside some of my best friends, Zoë Schmidt Feenstra and Alec Montgomery. It's amazing growing up, seeing how we went from campers to the counselors that the campers look up to.
What are your plans after graduation?
After I graduate, I want to study Anthropology and Theatre. I want to mix the study of different cultures into my art. The struggle right now is finding a school that has two equally strong programs that lets me experiment with both. I also want to go into the Peace Corps. Joining the Peace Corps has been a dream of mine since I was very little. Overall, I want to experience as much of life as I can, and be open to new experiences, the way people think, and how they thrive where they are.
Do you have any advice for new students here?
I would say be yourself, don't push anything, and treat others as you would like to be treated. Everyone has appreciation for everyone else in the school; the only thing we absolutely reject is being fake. Do something because you want to do it, not because someone else did. Also, if you want to be yourself and be respected for it, respect others and treat them with the same respect. Most importantly, have fun and make some smart art!
Photos by Thomas Mohr Photography