What the 3 Months of Hard Work Leading Up to the Westridge Theatre Winter Showcase Were Like


Valentina V.

Students in Acting I preparing for the Winter Showcase.

“One thing we like to do is hear from people like you!” When I hear that line, I know it’s time to start inching forward onto stage. Hunched over my walker, wrapped up tightly in my shawl, I make my way into the Black Box Theatre. I move into the shining yellow lights just in time for another studentor Volunteer Ato tell me, “I’m so glad you’re a fan.” 

On January 26 and 27, Westridge Theatre put on the Winter Showcase, a collection of one-act plays performed by students in Acting I, Theatre Production, and Comedy Club. Acting I performed Landlines, a wacky tribute to telephones written by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen, and Going Left, a story about two basketball players in love by Kristoffer Diaz. Theatre Production performed And Action by Eleanor Burgess, where a group of high school students try to make a movie, and Comedy Club wrote and performed a short sketch called Cloud 9, a dating show for clouds set hundreds of feet in the sky. Junior Alex S. wrote and directed AM51, an exciting short play about a kid who thinks they are turning into an alien. 

As a student in Acting I and a member of Comedy Club, I had the thrill of acting in 3 out of 5 of the performances. I played Old Woman and Child in Landlines, Coleman in Going Left, and SoundCloud in Cloud 9. Here’s what the process was like. 


3 Months Before the Winter Showcase

In October, The Acting I class started spending our class time reading different one-act plays. We sat around three tables formed in a triangle-like arrangement while we read, and we started organizing the different scripts into two liststhe ones we liked, and the ones we didn’t. 


2 Months Before the Winter Showcase

Me laughing while crying under the sink in the PAC bathroom. (Valentina V.)

By November, after an anonymous vote, we had already chosen to perform Going Left and Landlines. On November 3, Julia Davis, Middle and Upper School theatre teacher, read out the cast lists while we sat in a big circle on the floor of the Black Box Theatre. I heard my name twiceboth for characters I was interested in playing. However, they were both very small parts, and so I was extremely disappointed. I ran away from class and cried under the sink in the PAC bathroom for 20 minutes. Later, Ms. Davis changed a few details of the cast lists to make sure everyone was happy with their roles. I kept one of my original roles but got cast as a completely different character in Going Left. Though I still wasn’t quite the lead I wanted to be, I felt happier with my roles.


1 Month Before the Winter Showcase

Acting I exploring the prop loft. (Valentina V.)

In December, our process started to speed up. Our Acting I class went on a field trip to the prop loft, a very tight, rickety room filled with props from various Westridge productions. We found everything we needed for the two plays, including bowls to drink coffee out of and old phones we found behind creepily realistic birds. We began alternating which show we rehearsed each class period, and we established most of our blocking, or the precise staging, of the two plays. Knowing that the two-week hiatus of Winter Break would take away much of our time to rehearse and memorize our lines, we tried to put in as much practice as possible in preparation for our January performances.

Comedy Club also started discussing the Winter Showcase during our club meetings. Comedy Club drafted a page full of different hilarious ideas by shouting them out as we sat in a circle on the floor of the Black Box Theatre. (Wow, a lot of sitting in circles happens in the Black Box!)  Some of our ideas included: a couple interviewing babies, flammable pajamas, Dorito headquarters, and, of course, clouds, which developed into the Cloud9 sketch we performed.

1 Day Before the Winter Showcase

The day before the Winter Showcase was the only rehearsal where the entire cast of the Winter Showcase ran through the whole show. It was an invited dress rehearsal, meaning that there was an audience mostly made up of  faculty with some students watching, too. I was able to listen to AM51 and And Action for the first time. Ginny A. ’25 in Theatre Production had the best bad French accent I’d ever heard. Katie M. ’26, who played Announcer 2 in Landlines, Sad Cloud in Cloud 9, Bowie in Going Left, and a tree in AM51, left school early and was not able to come to the dress rehearsal. Melina H. ’26, who played the role of Makeup Person in Landlines, bravely stepped in for Katie, where she had to do her own makeup. “[Stepping in for Katie] was really scary but there was a lot of laughter so it was worth it,” Melina said. Though it was just a dress rehearsal, it was good enough to be the real thing.


10 Hours Before the Winter Showcase

Luckily, Acting I had class the day of the Winter Showcase opening performance on January 26. The class started in our iconic circle on the floor of the Black Box, where we gave each other positive reinforcements about our performance from the night before. Then, we jumped right into what Ms. Davis calls the “silly runthrough,” where we say our lines really fast and don’t use any props. I was zooming across the stage with my walker like a two-year-old who ate too much sugar. Everyone was laughing throughout the entire class which helped ease the nerves of having to perform later that day. 


3 Hours Before the Winter Showcase

On the two performance days of the Winter Showcase, dinner was provided right after school at 3:10 because the show didn’t end until late (acting on an empty stomach is no fun!). We danced and sang Taylor Swift and Mamma Mia! songs. Chipotle was served on opening night, and pizza and fruit roll-ups were enjoyed on closing night, everyone being pleasantly surprised by the table full of food as they marched into the amphitheater. The cast of students in Acting I, Theatre Production, and Comedy Club all came together as we tried to guess whether we were listening to the ten-minute version or the five-minute version of Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well.”

Layla R. ’26 and Ms. Hawk singing Taylor Swift. (Valentina V.)
Mirella C. ’25 and Alice C. ’25 having a fruit roll-up eating competition (Valentina V.)


2 Hours Before the Winter Showcase

Izzy C. ’23 entertaining everyone in the dressing room before the show. (Valentina V.)

Before the house opened at 6:00 p.m., there were a few aspects of the show that still needed to be polished. Ms. Davis and Mr. Kruhm, Theatre Production teacher and Director of Theatre, requested that we run the transitions between the shows since all but one rehearsal were in class. We ran the transitions, set the props, got into costumes, and listened to senior speeches. The surplus of down-time before the show allowed us to hang out around the costume shop for a while. It was nice being able to sit on the couch in the costume shop and connect with my friends who only have the chance to participate in theatre through their art classes. One performer, Katie M. ’26 said, “I really enjoyed the shows because it was fun to see all the different classes come together and make a show together.” Since the performers in the Winter Showcase are mainly from Acting I and Theatre Production classes, students who have after school commitments still have the opportunity to get involved with the Theatre program.


The Winter Showcase 

The lights capture me and Caroline as we step on stage. “More coffee?” I ask in my shaky, high-pitched Old Woman voice that never fails to make everyone laugh. “Maybe just half a bowl,” Caroline (Old Man) responds. It’s ridiculous. After Landlines is over I rush into the dressing room and throw on a white tutu and backwards baseball cap. Then I sway onto stage and become SoundCloud where I improvise a rap while the other clouds show off their dance moves. Funny characters are my absolute favorite ones to play, and making people laugh is always my goal. I love jumping into different characters and understanding their personalities while still having fun with their voices and mannerisms. After Cloud 9 I have 45 minutes of downtime to relax, run lines, and change into my basketball jersey for Going Left

Three months of hard work is all worth it once you hit the performances. Even though I was originally upset that I wasn’t going to be the star of the show, through the process of rehearsing and becoming closer with my classmates, I learned that committing to a character is more important than the number of lines they have. I also reinforced my love of performing. For me, performing is one of the best feelings. The little butterflies in my tummy, the sounds of laughter that make me want to keep going and going, the glowing feeling of stepping into the lights: I love it.