Year-End Q & A with Alex Berger (AB) and Katherine Spicuzza (KS)
Q As student leaders of the Loft Stage, what have been your high points and low points this year?
AB–My personal high points definitely came in how much I grew as a stage manager/student director. I discovered that it’s definitely one of my favorite passions and can’t wait to continue in the future. The lows? Not always reaching out and connecting with everyone instead of just the people I already knew.
KS–High point of the year was definitely Aida. I felt like everyone did a really incredible job of bonding with castmates and keeping a positive morale throughout the show—not to mention that everyone worked their butts off on stage and off to make the production the best it could be. Definitely the highlight of my theater career, and I think it was really good for the theater program. Low point(s) of the year: Twitter drama. It was really disappointing to see people keep tweeting and sub-tweeting negative comments after we had big group conversations about what constituted appropriate behavior online and in person. If you have a problem, resolve it face to face, or talk to an adult who can help you sort out the situation.
Q You’ve both been deeply involved in theater for the past four years. What is your absolutely favorite memory?
AB–My absolutely favorite memory on the Loft Stage is easily the opening night of Aida. Everyone had worked so hard to make the show come together and it was an absolute joy to watch all of that effort pay off that night.
KS–Favorite memory would have to be getting three Outstandings from the Spotlight judges for my performance as Martha Watson in White Christmas. After a very tumultuous time, I was awarded for my hard work and dedication. I needed that.
Q: From your student perspectives, what is the Loft Stage’s greatest strength? How about its greatest weakness?
AB–The Loft Stage’s biggest strength is how many opportunities are made available to students. There is a state-of-the-art space with a wonderful staff and phenomenal resources at your disposal. Ironically, I think that the biggest weakness lies in how great the Loft Stage is. The size of the space and the quality of the shows can be intimidating to some. It truly is an absolutely wonderful program, however.
KS–I think our greatest strength is the selecting and casting of shows. These directors really pick shows that highlight the talent we have, and we do a really good job performing the shows, too. I think our greatest weakness is the negativity that can surround the audition process. Spreading bad mojo around casting makes it harder to enjoy the successes of those who got parts. Once the casting list is out, students should take three to six hours to suck it up, and then focus on making the show the best one possible.
Q As drama student representatives and theater insiders, presumably you have your respective fingers on the pulse of the LoftPAC. What is your opinion of the overall theater student experience—morale, satisfaction, motivation, sense of belonging, etc.?
AB–After this year, I feel that everyone was very proud and content. The program put on four wonderful performances this school year and people made many new friends and memories along the way. The thing that excites me the most is seeing returning students already excited and passionate about next year. I know this program still has nowhere to go but up.
KS–I would say that belonging is something the upperclassmen were good at this year: being inclusive of the newer and younger kids. I think most of the kids felt like they could fit in somewhere, and several leaders tried hard to say hi to everyone and check in every once in a while across the many different areas of theater. But morale can change fast—it’s high when we can be civil, but it’s brought down with negativity. I think motivation is what we do best—lots of students are out to get a role, and they bring the competition. We just need to learn how to be civil while being competitive. You don’t need to put anyone down, just do your best and know that others are doing their best too. Remember, these directors know how to cast a show well, so leave it up to them. In the end, even though we have our rough times, overall student satisfaction is pretty good. Theater kids stick together.
Q Who would you want to play you in a movie?
AB–This is going to sound weird, but Kevin Costner. The only reason being that he usually stars in sports related films, and those who know me know I’m a sports fanatic. However, if I’m not in a sports movie, he’s out the window. Maybe Channing Tatum? I can see the resemblance…
KS–Maureen O’Hara—another fiery spirited ginger. And she’s gorgeous.
Q What words of wisdom do you have for next year’s returning Loft theater students?
AB–Always work hard and stay committed. The shows put on by the Loft Stage are possible only through your efforts. Embrace the Loft Stage; it offers so many wonderful opportunities to all of you. Be respectful to your peers and directors—I know this is theater, but leave the drama at the door. Finally, HAVE FUN!! I can’t wait to see how this program continues to blossom in the years to come. Keep shining, Lofties!
KS–Strive to include everyone and keep the positive vibes flowing through LoftPac. Theater kids are some of the best leaders in the school, so step up. Being a leader can be hard, but you have to stay above the peer pressure. Be nice. Nothing bad ever came of being nice. If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing. And seek to solve problems in person—not online.