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Students express their interest in theatre, acting

Drama actors gather on stage to share different emotions with the audience with laughter, happiness, and sadness. Filling the room with their voice, speaking to the audience with different personalities, students show their talent the campus drama program helped mature.

For the past four years, campus teacher Kyle Dodson has employed his passion for the arts to teach drama and the improv class. Theater benefits students by exercising and stretching different parts of the brain. The student becomes another person gathering their character’s motivation, and what they are going through, according to Dodson.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Drama teacher Kyle Dodson, middle, instructs students for a drama exercise called murder mystery.

“It’s all about building up the confidence level,” Dodson said. “It can be scary to get up in front of people, with lines memorized, and trying to pretend to be somebody else, but as long as the actor feels confident, they can accomplish anything.

“That’s why it is crucial for a tight-knit community to be established in the classroom,” Dodson continued. “To know that your fellow actors have your back is a fantastic feeling.”

Dodson began performing at a young age. His father directed children’s musicals for their church, and Dodson began to perform in them. This experience sparked a passion inside of him that led him to join drama in high school.

In high school, Dodson began to take drama class more seriously. He invested more and more time in drama until eventually, it became his main activity outside of academics.

“It was around junior-high that I decided to pursue and continue drama,” Dodson said. “I joined drama in high school with the intention that this was sort of what I wanted to do as my main extracurricular activity. Unfortunately, I then had to cut away sports.”

Junior Claire Palsgaard initially began drama to satisfy her high school art requirements for graduation. Now her desire to improve her craft of acting drives her.

Alexander Rurik | The Feather Online

Ezekiel Fuller, ’20, (left to right) Claire Palsgaard, ’20, and Tatiana Iest, ’19, on a drama field trip at Fresno State.

“What makes this interesting to me is that it’s something I’m not great at,” Palsgaard said. “I’m always trying to improve, so there are always new problems around the corner, but I’m just trying to get through it and do my best. I’m also really enjoying the process of that.

“My favorite play I was apart of was the Mousetrap performance,” Palsgaard continued. “It was really fun and was sort of my first time I had to act with the other people in my class. So I got to be more comfortable by doing that. I just felt really proud of myself in the end, because I remembered all my lines, and I thought my delivery of my lines wasn’t awful.”

Palsgaard encourages her peers to go out and take the risk of failing, even if you are someone who does not particularly enjoy public expression.

“I would say just do it, even if you’re afraid,” Palsgaard said. “Even if you’re someone who sits in the corner, and doesn’t say anything or just on their phone. Just do it because you’re really gonna improve and start to enjoy it. Your people skills are going to get better, and speaking in public will improve.”

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Ezekiel Fuller, ’20, (left) and Colton Allen, ’20, takes part in a drama exercise called scream and die.

Ezekiel Fuller, ‘20, began drama as a sixth grader at First Church Christian Academy, playing the role of Lumiére in Beauty and the Beast.

“What makes it interesting to me is to be another person on stage,” Fuller said. “You get to go all out, it’s an excuse to be crazy, and even just to cry on stage, or to be angry on stage, and just feels those emotion from other person’s perspective. That’s another reason why I do it, you get to be another person.”

Fuller says he gained confidence after playing his first big role in the play Beauty and the Beast, as Lumiére. With Fuller’s father directing  most of the churches plays, he encourages him to continue doing drama, and supports him in what he does.

“My parents like me being in drama, they always encourage me to do the shows,” Fuller said. “It’s a lot of my choice but they support me in what I do. My dad directs most of the church plays so he really enjoys me being apart of them.”

Dodson encourages FC students to take drama to experience new things, and find creativity in themselves.

“I would encourage a student to do drama because it’s fun,” Dodson said. “It uses parts of our brain that no other classes get to use. The creativity and community that is built in a drama classroom can’t be replicated anywhere else.

“In drama class, actors find a voice,” Dodson continued. “Because so much of acting is understanding identity, an actor will step away knowing themselves better. We do improvised scenes, learn about theatre history, read plays, and perform in a big production. FCS Drama encompasses all of that.”

In the following podcast, Kyler Garza interviews Ezekiel Fuller on his experience in drama productions.

Drama class plans to present “The Tempest,” by William Shakespeare later during this semester. The date is to be determined. The staging takes place off the California coast, so the references will be more updated to a modern culture.

For more articles read, Lindsay Weimer shares success story of cancer battle, part 2 and Column: Respecting Leadership.

Kyler Garza can be reached via email.

Below is a slideshow of the drama class participating in an improvisation activity.

Below is a slideshow of the drama class using improvisation to improve communication skills.

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