The Forest Scout Thespian of The Year 2019: Bryan Kingsley

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The Forest Scout Thespian of The Year 2019: Bryan Kingsley

Maddy Javier, Staff Writer

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If you’ve seen one of the many plays or musicals at Lake Forest High School over the past four years, then you’ve most likely had the privilege of watching senior Bryan Kingsley transform into any character imaginable onstage, all the while capturing the audience and bringing them into the world of the stage.

Kingsley, who’s acted in a total of 11 productions at LFHS, has continuously stolen the show, ranging from performances such as the comical narrator, Officer Lockstock, in the satire musical, Urinetown, his sophomore year to embodying Chad, the hip-thrusting roustabout, in this year’s musical, All Shook Up.  

Kingsley’s outstanding performances in this years’ shows, however, have earned him the title Thespian of the Year, one of The Forest Scout’s annual awards.

This year, Kingsley held a lead role in all three shows he participated in, each role vastly different from the next.

In the fall play, The Patsy, directed by Joe Pulio, Kingsley had the audience roaring with laughter when appearing as the faithful, yet conflicted husband, Maurice Vatelin, who was pursued by the German (and very passionate), Martza Ziegler, played by senior Nikole Tzioufas.

Next, in the dystopian society of 1984, Kingsley gave a phenomenal and truly bone-chilling performance as Winston Smith in the winter play, also directed by Joe Pulio.

And finally, in this year’s spring musical, All Shook Up, Kingsley stepped onstage as his all-time favorite role, Chad, a young, rebellious, and motorcycle-riding character from the 1950s (who very much resembles Elvis Presley).

I was able to witness Kingsley’s performances in both the fall and winter plays, while then performing alongside him as his counterpart in All Shook Up. His dedication to each role and his passion for performing for others simply to bring entertainment are what make him deserving of this year’s award as thespian of the year.

If you’d never met Kingsley before high school, you wouldn’t never realized that theatre wasn’t ever a part of his life until his freshmen year. When I asked Kingsley about any “life-changing” experiences that led him to choose to do theatre, he attributed the whole idea to his older sister, Molly.

“I had a big conversation for awhile with my sister in while I was in middle school. We were sitting down and talking about what I was good at and what I should do with my future since I sucked at everything else I tried,” Kingsley said, laughing. “My sister told me about how funny and energetic I am, and said ‘Maybe you should try something like theatre.’ And I guess that just stuck with me. I tried out and have been doing it since. And it’s been incredible.”

And while his older sister was one person in his life that helped Kingsley onto the path of doing theatre, there are a few other mentors that Kingsley attributes to helping him grow as an actor.

When I asked him who’s been able to deeply influence his life and career in theatre, Kingsley replied, “Definitely and most of all, Mr. Pulio through his directing and all of the help he gave me. I did not come into this community being a very good actor at all, but he had so much patience with me and he really worked me up to be a way better actor than I ever could.”

Not only has Mr. Pulio had an impact on Kingsley, but Kingsley has been able to leave a lasting impact on his own director through the connection they’ve made.

“I feel more like I’m his dad… because having to go through the depths of characters, a lot of them required him to have to reflect on himself and through that type of work, you really connect,” Pulio said. “It’s been incredible watching him grow and I couldn’t be prouder watching all the work he’s done in all my shows.”

While Kingsley is praised for his performance onstage, it’s his motivation and diligence behind the curtain that lead him to stand out among his peers.

Pulio claimed that that Kingsley’s worthiness of this year’s award comes from “his desire to accept anything he’s given and do it with dignity. I think it’s that statement, ‘act well your part.’ That’s what makes him stand out.”

The full statement “Act well your part; there all the honor lies” comes from the motto for the International Thespian Society, or ITS, made up of millions of inducted theatre students across the nation since 1929.

When I performed alongside Kingsley in All Shook Up I was able to first-handedly witness his passion for the role and his ability to make the audience fall in love with the show just as he had. While I saw it on his face every night of the performance, it wasn’t until I was able to sit down with Kingsley that I learned the true extent of his motivation to entertain others.

“Whenever I do theatre, the thing that always motivates me most is bringing whatever kind of entertainment I can to other people. My favorite thing to do in theatre is one, spending time with the community, which I absolutely love. All the kids who do it are incredible and I love them all. And also, just seeing people be happy and enjoy themselves from something I contribute to. It really means everything to me and it makes me feel so happy. It gives me a real, great sense of accomplishment when I can truly entertain someone else through something that I believe I’m pretty good at.”

Over the course of the school year and through his entire theatre career at the high school, Kingsley has exemplified what it truly means to be deserving of the thespian of the year award through his immense talent, dedication and desire to perform well, and his true passion for theatre.

While Kingsley will be attending Dayton University in the fall to pursue a career in business, he plans “to do everything [he] possibly can” to continue to do theatre outside of college because as he told me, “it’s made too profound of an impact on my life to just stop.”