Junior Haley Christian is ready to wow audiences as a lead in this year’s fall play, albeit in a virtual format.
“Being the main character is still kind of crazy to me, and I really just don’t believe it’s actually happening,” Christian said.
Christian’s character, Tilly Evans, dies before the events in the play, but still plays a significant part in the story. The play revolves around the cast fulfilling Tilly’s Dungeons and Dragons game that she wrote before her death.
“It’s about discovering her [Tilly’s sister] discovering who I am through the game,” Christian said.
Tilly’s character is bullied before her death for a multitude of reasons that are not delved into. To Christian, this brings her an opportunity to showcase her genuine emotions.
“My character is bullied before she dies and doesn’t tell anyone that it’s happening to her. Something similar happened to me, so I’ll be able to portray that emotion,” Christian said.
According to stage manager senior Grace Harper, lead roles are often given to seniors, but this year it was not the case.
“Typically, the most senior members of the drama department receive the lead roles, but this year Haley stepped it up and showed she was ready to take the lead,” Harper said.
The virtual format of the show does leave some concern.
“I feel like there is potential for people not to be working as hard or being as committed, but I hope that doesn’t happen between now and the recording of the show,” Christian said.
Rehearsals and the performance itself will be entirely virtual, which is different from previous years.
“I think it’s good that there’s a non-senior as a lead, it will help bring new ideas to the table and encourage others to work harder,” Harper said.
The play is designed to be entirely online, but it still requires all cast members to be actively involved. However, if the cast chose not to memorize their script and just read off it for the performance, they could get by.
“I feel like there is potential for people not to be working as hard or being as committed, but I hope that doesn’t happen between now and the recording of the show,” Harper said.
This is not Christian’s first show either; she’s been involved with the drama department since her freshman year in shows such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Freaky Friday, and She Loves Me.
Christian found her passion for theater after watching Once On This Island her 8th-grade year and has been entranced since. “It’s an amazing thing to see when a play goes from nothing to a full production, and it’s had me hooked the whole time.”
“Haley has grown so much throughout her time in the RHS Theater department, and I couldn’t see anyone better for the job. She’s been involved every year and manages to excel no matter what she does,” said Harper.
Christian currently does not have any plans to continue her acting career outside of high school. Besides theater, she’s involved in “Acapella Choir, RoVaSi Band, and Marching band- there’s not really time in my schedule for anything else.”
While this year will undoubtedly be different, members of the RHS theater department will continue to put on a play at the highest standards they’re accustomed to, and Haley Christian indeed plans to perform her best- even if it’s without a live audience.
“The play being virtual feels crazy because it’s missing the connection of an in-person show with the audience and the other actors,” Christian said.
While plans still have not been determined on how the play will premiere, be sure to follow the RHS Drama Facebook page for updates on the play and how you can watch Christian debut as Tilly in the Roosevelt Drama department’s production of She Kills Monsters.