WW ’19: WHSTE brings one-act show “Out Loud” to student body


Credit: Caroline Lampert

Cast members bow to the crowd as a show concludes. Members of WHSTE performed “Out Loud,” a short, single-act play to a group of students and teachers in the auditorium on Monday. “The message of the show was that if you have something, just say it out loud; don’t keep it held up within you,” sophomore Katherine Dean said.

Jessica Reilly and Alex Janoff

“Out Loud” is a student-written production that documents the experiences of an unlikely group of high school confidants during an ALICE drill. On Monday, members of WHSTE, or Wayland High School Theater Ensemble, performed the short, single-act play to a group of students and teachers in the auditorium.

“Out Loud” was written by Class of 2018 graduate Melinda Kalanzis and has since been performed at WHS’s single-act theater festival and at the Emerson Festival.

“‘Out Loud’ is an original piece created by [WHSTE’s] cast under the leadership of Melinda Kalanzis [as] part of a senior directed one-act project,” WHS drama teacher and WHSTE Director Aidan O’Hara said. “Melinda and the six cast members started writing monologues [about] what happens in one’s ‘average day.’”

The cast of characters finds themselves in the bathroom when an announcement over the loudspeaker communicates the arrival of an intruder and initiates typical ALICE proceedings. It isn’t until the end that the group realizes that the announcement was simply a drill. Naturally, each character opens up to the group. One after the other, they detail their difficulties with progressing through high school to the rest of the group and the audience. While extremely realistic, O’Hara stressed that the characters were just that ‒ deeply developed characters.

“I don’t think their intent was just to put themselves up there,” O’Hara said. “They wanted it to be clear that they created [these] characters.”

After seeing what Winter Week at Wayland was like last year, O’Hara knew a theatrical production like “Out Loud” would easily find a place among the many activities, speakers and other performances.

“Last year was my first year, and I experienced Winter Week [for the first time],” O’Hara said. “I thought that the theater group should have a presence.”

On stage, the actresses expressed their characters and conquered the pressure of performing in front of an audience. Afterward, they described the feeling of being on stage in front of their classmates.

“It sounds stupid, but you really have this rush when you’re acting,” junior Sofia Reck said. “You never know how the audience is going to respond, [and you’re] just making sure you get everything right and make the right pass of what’s supposed to happen.”

Sophomore Katherine Deane describes the feeling of acting on stage in a similar way.

“It’s like an adrenaline rush, it’s really exhilarating,” Deane said. “Just the excitement of getting to show off your talent or skills to a bunch of people and making them feel different emotions is really fun.”

In addition to Kalanzis’ efforts, the students crafted many of their lines themselves and put them together into a script. Some of the actresses even based their characters off of real experiences.

“The whole cast wrote our own lines, so I guess for us it was pretty tricky to make sure everything fit together,” Reck said. “For me, the trickiest part [was] I wrote my lines [based] on my previous life, so I guess that was tricky for me to have to go back into and try to relive.”

Deane adds that it was difficult for the cast to combine all of their ideas and lines.

“The most challenging part was definitely fitting all our ideas together and melding them together to make one show,” Deane said.

The unlikely scene of students confessing their innermost feelings and problems to each other during an ALICE drill speaks to the play’s underlying message.

“The message of the show was that if you have something, just say it out loud; don’t keep it held up within you,” Deane said. “There are people you can talk to, and you should really talk to those people.”

Some of the cast members are new to the theater scene, while others are experienced in the art. Reck’s interest in theater began in middle school and has progressed throughout her high school career.

“I started in middle school, where I did those small little plays,” Reck said. “Then in freshman year, I was just busy with other personal things. My sophomore year I realized that WHSTE is really just one big family, and I decided to join it. I’ve been very happy since.”

A newer member of WHSTE, Deane’s interest in theater sprung more recently.

“I first listened to the Hamilton soundtrack, and I really enjoyed it because my friends got me into it,” Deane said. “And I was like, ‘what is the theater thing? It sounds really cool.’ So then I did the fall musical. And from there, I’ve just been doing theater.”

In terms of getting involved, both Reck and Deane believe the WHSTE community is very inclusive. The group encourages students to participate, even if they aren’t interested in performing.

“I think [in WHSTE] there are always so many small acts or just the play. You don’t even need to have a huge part – just join and you can always do something fun,” Reck said. “All the help is always wanted.”

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