The Magic of a Payton Ensemble

“Red Noses” premiered at Payton on November 10. Photo by Hank Fritzmann

By Hank Fritzmann, Staff Writer

When you hear the word “ensemble,” what do you think of? Most think of marching band, their high school football team, and some think of the theater.

Angela Valentino ‘18 defines an ensemble as “a group of actors together in the context of one show to foster connections and relationships outside of the show in order to make the final product as enjoyable as possible for the audience.”

Building connections with people is something that we do every day in many different contexts. How is building an ensemble in theater different from playing on a sports team then? Well, as Emily Ilkanic ‘18 said, “ I think it’s different; it warrants the same results, but it’s a much different practice. I think there are levels to ensemble building that athletics don’t have. In my experience, I’ve worked relatively exclusively with a small portion of the tech crew, and I’ve gotten very close with them. Yet even though the bulk of my time is spent with such a small portion of the ensemble, everyone knows who I am, what I’m doing, and I know the same about them. It’s a very encouraging environment, and everyone is so supportive and genuinely appreciative of all of the work everyone else has put into the shows; this is the greatest aspect of theater at Payton to me.”

Sports teams compete to win a trophy, the pride of victory, and a personal sense of accomplishment. What about in theater? What do you gain from talking on a stage for two hours? Laisa Summers ‘19 states, “You’re not competing with anyone, you’re making something original and meaningful. And I feel like because of that you get a lot more time to improve and develop as a cast and a story together because there’s so much world building and trust building.”

In sports you gain physical strength and prowess for the hard physical work you do. What do you get from theater? As Costanza Siniscalchi ‘20 said, “ Team sports are obviously more athletically focused while ensemble building is more emotionally based. However, both do work with emotional connections between people, just at different levels.”

With sports you obtain a strong physical base, but with theater you develop a strong emotional base. As Angela Valentino ‘18 said, “In sports they are working towards a specific goal of competition and victory and in theater it’s more of a creative self-fulfilling goal of making art that isn’t quite as cut and dry. I think both are equally valid and beneficial to those involved and the audiences watching.”      


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