Fame Firsts – Beginning a Discovery.

First nights are…nerve-wracking, full of anticipation, open a window of what is to come, and that is just what comes to memory first about first nights.   With the 2016 production of Fame, you have a cast, audience, and group of fans all expecting, wondering, and speculating on how things will be different.  No different was the case with ASF’s production of FAME April 14th either.  There are so many things that will, I believe, come out of this first night production, and that already HAVE come out of this first night production, I feel lile this a daunting task to address it and yet – as an audience member much of this lingers with you after seeing FAME.

This is hard to do without giving spoilers but yes, it can be done  🙂   First coming into the FAC lobby, the efficiency of the parents supporting this production, as always is superb.  Having the ability for sandwiches toasted and a plethora of options is EXCELLENT for an after school production, this was definitely the case.  As you are seated you notice the bubbling and sounds, as well as the use of the side areas of the FAC inside, typical of what you would expect of those waiting to enter the Arts building where individuals were about to perform.  The casual nature of the side areas leading to the stage, the FAC area, very well done.  You will see this as you become an audience member of FAME as well – very very well planned.

From the very beginning to end, there is so much happening, you need to make sure you are seeing the leads, as well as the supporting actors 100%, and this takes much scanning of the action on stage, center, left and right stage, even the front and back stage.  I like this as every single potential student of the Performing Arts School and star wannabe has a part to play and does have the ability to do something with their part extraordinary.  This often is not the case in a production, where often it is quite obvious why someone is cast in a specific role.  Along those lines, I never felt during this particular night, that anyone was miscast, everyone had a purpose and a role that seemed to be predestined by this first night’s showing. 

I felt over the course of the whole Fame first night production there were moments that I wanted the sound, music, and voices to be even more elevated, to match the emotions that I felt could be even more elevated as well.  I have a feeling this is a first night discovery and as you will see below, specific cast have definitely been able to reach inside and grab what affects them, moves them, and pushes them to sending that emotion through their voice out to the audience.  There are still some that I want to see project those feelings, disappointments, exciting moments, and their deepest feelings even stronger; I can feel they have much more to say and show about those emotions – to the point that the music, their voice, and their emotions can be elevated to an even higher level to move, shock, and paralyze me in the moment. 

I felt this myself, that this particular production had the potential for all involved to dip inside a real situation of their lives currently, being students and trying to hold onto the memories of the very halls, rooms, and teachers that paralyzed them in moments that they are unable to turn their back on, even at graduation.  With that opportunity at their feet to relive the very moments that will stick with them beyond high school, and to match that with where they hope to go and be after college graduation, this is their moment to live within themselves and project the very emotions that have come up against so far, and definitely I felt that in some of the actors and actresses this first night, and others I so see them just beginning to reach that powerful point, and want to see that occur even more to see how they develop by the end of this production.  This is exciting for me as an audience member and I can only imagine how it must be for the cast themselves.

On a technical standpoint and from behind the camera, I was stunned at how the lighting was brilliant and made for specific moments throughout the show.  My camera told me so as I tried to capture some moments that were difficult to say at best.  Along with my camera the key moments that were lighted amazingly, all was done absolutely in style.  Technical-wise, the set was moved to what seemed to be effortlessly, and as always, the Tech Club and stage crew was on cue and even more than I can remember for a first night performance.  I have said it once before and will say it again, it is so easy to take for granted the opportunity to look over how the set is arranged, how the lighting adds to the overall performance, and how the movement of actors, scenery, and all fits together with the lines of the performers – and yet all flowed better than you’d hope for in a first night performance.

The intermission was again, a necessity to take in the details.  If you notice a prop in the FAC lobby, then you are half way there – and the details there are worth taking in.  On top of that, add the edition of the PA weekly to the list to the pluses of this production, and it is the exact right touch.  YOU DEFINITELY will love how the PA is represented from the PA weekly – and this was a brilliant addition to what you are absorbing from the overall FAME production.  Without further adieu, let’s deep into the details:

Alani- Remember when it was mentioned details are important?  Her facial expressions, reactions, and overall presence is evident from the very beginning and very much belongs in the PA – a great part of the cast.

Alejandra – Definitely having grown from last year’s production, Alejandra positions herself right in the middle of the crowds of students, cliques and drama that usually is being discussed among the students.

Ana – I think one of the youngest PA students and yet she fits right in with everyone as part of the action.  Very cool to see a new face.

Ana G – Always participating 100% with the lessons, students and the action going on.  It has been a pleasure to see her as a regular during this production.

Ana Paula – Optimistic, energetic and always in the middle of the crowds of PA – excellent to see her a part of this team!

Ana Sofia – I find it hysterical she is a pro-rocker for the band she is in and her general enthusiasm for being a part of PA – it is contagious!

Ana Victoria – Her “chillness” is VERY believable – and also contagious to all the potential soon-to be stars, and glad she tried to make certain members that decided to leave PA, try to stay.

Annabella – I have to say, the IDEAL rocker and drummer, I couldn’t picture anyone else as being more the rebel or wanting to be, played perfectly.

Analise – Not afraid to be right in the middle of the action and supporting the energy flowing through the PA students, excellent member of the cast.

Arturo – Yes.  He pulls tug of war perfectly and is a perfect fit for this role, and yes, does justice to the role of Romeo.

Caroline – She doesn’t come off as being the stuck up, arrogant student she appears to be in the promo video, and yet, this was the first night.  We will wait and see- but she is always also in the middle of everything at the PA – right where she should be.  She seems to have grown alot more confidence from last year which is evidence of her growing into roles.

Emiliano – Yes – he plays the part of friend/trickster and trumpet gesture member great – I think as his voice becomes louder with more frequent performances, his personality will also come out more, a good fit it seemed for this role.

Giulia – While we did not get to see her nose wriggling ability as claimed in her promo video, her enthusiasm is evident through all scenes in the production, which easily maker her part of the cast.

Hunter – from the last catch and carry of cast members at the end to the beginning of the production, Hunter is very much a part of the action and is a very supportive cast role in FAME – good to see him as I do not recall him in productions before, but a welcome member with his ability.  I’d like to hear more of his voice!

Isabel – Wow.  To avoid spoilers, her passion to do what she wants and so full of herself to certain level sets up quite a twist in the end – and she is able tp move towards that unexpected twist perfectly, loved her as part of this cast and seeing her at the bottom, towards the end, more than believable – and heart-breaking at the same time.

Isabella P – I can’t recall seeing Isabella in a production before and yet – she fits the role as a tough, rocker, rebellious yet strong PA student, she fits, she JUST DOES  🙂

Jorge – Holy *&$)*(&!#*)_!#@.  YES.  His strength, bravado, machismo, his not giving in and then giving in under tough terms, EVERYTHING.  YES.  All of it, – WHAT A GREAT casting role and played PERFECTLY – LOVED his presence and PA and FAME, much less without even considering and discussing his overall role and presence, excellent – period.

Juan Manuel – While not a lead very much present and a supporting member of the PA and overall student body – he also helped build a strong crowd of students working towards success.

Juliana – Her smile, enthusiasm, energy, grace – she totally, 100% works as part of the cast and then some, I see her becoming more powerful in voice, roles, and energy in upcoming shows of Fame and other productions.  She definitely has this diamond in the rough ability.

Lara – Perhaps one of the most telling moments was the Romeo & Juliet scene, the smile on her face – larger than I’ve ever seen. Her energy and positive energy is very evident all the way to the audience, without a doubt  🙂

Lu – I cheated and saw her performance as a lead in practice, and this evening, her supporting participation in the student body, performing, and of course voice – she is stil a standout and is going to be a blockbuster asset to all performances – truly a diamond in her participation in all things musical, dramatic, and staged – she is AWESOME!

Maria – As headmaster, nemesis to Jorge’s character, arguing with Ximena, sharing the emotions of what it means to be director of PA, and all scenes involved, while I can’t recall her as a lead in past productions, she is PERFECT for this role – I mean she fit amazingly.  Her stance, posture, actions, all of it – YES.  Thanks PA and Fame for letting her having this role it was exact.

Elisa – Obviously from the time she waits to get into PA at the beginning to the tryouts to being in PA – a few things you will notice – HUGE smile always remains, while you might not have seen her in any previous productions she fits in perfectly, plays the part and just – well, why hasn’t she been in previous productions?!  🙂

Marion – Again, after seeing Marion naturally become part of the PA students accepted, she fits naturally in, she is a part easily, naturally, and it is excellent to see her as part of the PA students accepted.  You want to see her succeed due to her optimism.

Natalia – Absolutely represented from Les Miserables, Natalia has this outpouring of optimism and energy that you cannot imagine NOT being on the stage.  NOT AT ALL.  Love Natalia’s optimism, spunk, and energy. 

Nathalie Z – Willingness, energy, and bringing what FAME represents is all part of when we see Nathalie as a part of a production she believes in and of course, she does.  You can tell from her expressions, her desire to be involved and on stage, her heart is with all she does involving drama and the arts.

Nicolas – If you have followed Nicolas’ involvement in the arts – then you know – the unexpected quirky roles he takes – hysterical and they always work.  Tonight was not the exception in the least.  Absolutely, Nicolas carries the weight of hilarity, plot, and personality, and always in a different way – in every production – and this continues through FAME …

Nicole – You watch and are into the relationship that could, would, and does ensue between Nicole and…..you’ll have to see…she does so so well – you expect to see these two in the same situation off stage.  effortlessly, gracefully, and without any drawbacks, Nicole is essential to Fame for so many reasons – and you will see why within ten minutes of her entering PA as one of the best dancers in the institution.

Pablo – If you had to bottle 1% of his energy, hilarity, jibes, and jabs, and the gusto Pablo brings to stage – you’d never be able to stop – and Pablo does not.  To the credit of the Fame plot line – itself – he is able to pull off an endless pursuit of many, he IS the energizer bunny of insult and hormones, and he is AMAZING on the FAME set.

Pedro – I have seen Pedro transform into more confidence onstage within one year and the FAME stage proves this.  I hope to hear hos voice and confidence still begin to rise, as I feel he has even more to show and reach into the audience.  His availability and reliability to those around him are essential and Fame and it is exciting to see him grow as a cast member absolute!

Sara – The shine you see in her smile, dance, and mingling as a student, artists and FAME cast member is unmistakable.  When she is lifted up high into the air at the end by Hunter, it fits – and she belongs on this FAME cast and stage for various reasons.  It is exciting to see her on stage – and rewarding.

Sarah  – Her boldness, confidence, and presence is one of many that insures her reason to not only be a part of PA, but it is exciting to see her involved in a production – I think for the first time.  I feel it is completely appropriate based on her graduating, her role seems to represent how confident she can be, is, and will be.  Love seeing her in this production for many reasons.

Sofia- Can you picture her saying “OHMYGOSH, SEAFOOD -(you’ll catch the meaning during the production) – however, when you hear and see ‘FEED ME!”  – she nails it, she nails the bravado, personality, the Mojo of an artist and IS the personality of her role  EXCELLENT.

Sofia I – She is coming into her own, becoming bolder, still quiet and yet she is able to represent a presence on stage without much effort.  HOW DOES SHE DO THAT?  She is someone you just want to be a part of any production you are involved in – and she fits in easily with all the students of the PA.

Susanne – It was an absolute pleasure to see Susanne work through the conflicts of someone that has been around her all her life, and try to figure it out along the way.  She does with grace, talent, and this sense of optimism, trying to make it work for her.  She makes it work for her as a part of the cast of FAME, and then some.  It is a JOY to see her back on the stage for this year’s production.

Tamara – It’s funny she represents the details you do NOT want to miss, but easily could, if you do not pay attention to EVERYTHING that is happening on stage.  She has always been able to be counted on for something that adds to the plot and scenes, and FAME is no exception.  Her energy, facial expressions, and overall contributing to the plot and cast as it moves forward always has you looking for her in every production she is in, this is no exception.

Ximena – I love seeing Ximena as a leader in this role for FAME, for she is a leader in all she does, be it art, music, performing, contributing, heart and soul.  It is WONDERFUL to see Ximena, knowing what she does with her heart and soul, on stage and off stage, and you just know, yep, teacher, leader, contributing member of FAME?  TOTALLY XIMENA – love love love.

This is almost IMPOSSIBLE to state but, Alejandra, Andrea, Carlos, Elisa, Enrique, Isabel, Javier, Jose, Julia, Mateo, Mauricio, Patricia, Regina, Robbie, Rodolfo, Stefan, Victor Paulina, (and Paulina could be seen throughout several places throughout the production – she was naturally a part of the FAME environment!) and Paloma – all together?  Under one roof – they are a power house of insuring the lighting, the transitions, the cues, the props, the set, EVERY SINGLE thing that you could take for granted, and shouldn’t look as if they are planned a year ahead of time.  Stage crew, tech Club, and lighting, as well as music, sound, and SO MUCH MORE, the makeup, the costumes, and more than we can list – thank goodness we have these amazing people as part of FAME, hence, no FAME.

You will learn to recognize Teruhi, Hugo, Rosanna, Carolina, Alvaro, Rob for the time, vision, and energy they have devoted to create a risk of a production that is for many, something so different, it takes MUCH risk to even attempt it.  Yet, attempting it they did, have done, and for a first night production, you begin to realize as the acting, boldness, and pure talent thrown into a completely new situation and only better things are to happen from this experience.

You sense the feeling of a family – that is true, from everyone interacting on stage, and I get a feeling that is only going to increase as the shows progress.  How lucky are we to see this happening each show – pretty much beyond being able to put into words.

CONGRATS FAME team for creating an experience – beyond what FAME was in the series on television and bringing some feeling of finishing one’s period, in life, and moving onto a brighter one – filled with memories, nostalgia, and a road towards an artistic future.






About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
This entry was posted in Drama Productions, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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