By Grace Abraham and Elise Siebert
Seconds before the curtains opened, his stomach was full of butterflies and his heart was racing. As the show starts, the lights, sound, set, and the whole audience become one.
Senior Zach Magnuson, who played Jim Casy in “The Grapes of Wrath,” is ready to tell the crowd a story.
In the seventh grade, Magnuson had to join either boys basketball or theatre, he chose theatre. It is now his last year in the Jenks drama department, and he played one of the lead roles in its most recent performance.
“It was a way to become a different person and to see how other people think and how they feel and how experiences drive us,” Magnuson said when speaking about drama. “It was a concept I really fell in love with.”
For the first show of the year, Magnuson easily related to the character Jim Casy because they are both deep thinkers. Throughout the rehearsals, he had to find ways to take himself out of the character to result in a better performance. During this time, there are a lot of steps that have to come together to create the best show.
“I have to figure out how does he walk differently, how do I show his age?” Magnuson asked himself. “It was just really hard to play things similar to me but not let it be the me that I know I am.”
Even as an experienced actor, Magnuson still gets nervous before every performance, but as soon as he steps out onto the stage and looks into the audience, he feels all his nerves go away and is ready to play the part.
“Everything starts with the script but it goes beyond that,” Magnuson said. “One of the major themes of The Grapes of Wrath is what makes a family, and how does that correlate to us being humans.”
Although Magnuson had many successful years in high school drama, his plan for being involved in theatre in the future is still up in the air.
“I know I am going into the medical field but I started theatre for a reason,” Magnuson said. “Theatre has shown me a lot about how to be a person and what it is that makes us different people.”
Magnuson had played different people from all walks of life, from a rich person living in eastern London, to a poor person who couldn’t afford to pay rent. Because of these roles, he has learned to see people from a different perspective, and that is a lesson that will never leave him.
“Theatre is not a sport, but it is a competition. It is competitive, and it is hard, and it is exhausting,” Magnuson said. “But like any sport you’re gonna play, if you think there’s something there, do it. If you think theatre is right for you, then it probably is.”