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The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout


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What it Takes to be a Student Director

The Brightest Thing (Or, The Squonk Play) student directors Katie Kollasch, Declan Boyle, Katie-May Newman, Kallista Schneiderman, and Milana Yanev giving pre-show speech

Sometimes actors have to seemingly do the impossible. They go off stage dressed as a star and come back a minute later dressed as a goose. Their hair is perfectly curled, yet they never touched a curler. They almost forget a prop, but still make it on stage with it.

So, how do they do it? How does everything always go smoothly in a show? Even when something seems unimaginable?

Student directors.

What even is a student director?

A student director is exactly what it sounds like – a student who takes on a directing role in a show, doing whatever is needed.

The student director typically helps start the rehearsal, getting the actors ready to perform.

“We get to do a bunch of fun theater warmups and theater games to get everyone in an excited and energized mood,” junior and past student director Sarah Noble said.

Once rehearsal begins with the main director, the student director starts helping out in many different ways.

“A student director kinda does a lot of odd jobs depending on what the director wants,” senior and past student director Milana Yanev said. “We take notes, we make sure we have all the actors’ blocking, we work with memorization with the actors, and we also give feedback.”

Student directors help out with whatever the director wants, but they also can have a more active role in the process, choosing their own activities as well.

“During the freshman/sophomore show this year, The Brightest Thing (Or, the Squonk Play), I liked leaving and going on Starbucks runs,” junior and past student director Katie-May Newman said. “Then, I would fill in for one of the actors who was sick and perform for her in rehearsals.”

Besides the activities during rehearsals, student directing also comes with a certain prestige.

“When I was in A Midsummer Night’s Dream my freshman year, the student directors were always the cool people who you look up to,” Newman said. “They were always interesting and fun and that’s why I student-directed Squonk.”

It’s show day, what now for student directors?

Three months of work have passed and it’s time for the show. The actors are on stage and the tech crew is backstage or in the booth, so what do the student directors do?

“A quick change is when you have like 20 seconds to change costumes, so there are like eight people helping you put on your costume and it’s chaotic and awesome,” Newman said. “We as student directors help with quick changes.”

Quick changes are just one of many things that student directors get to do during the show.

“We’ll do hair, we’ll do makeup, and we’ll do anything tech needs us to do,” Yanev said. “During the shows, we’re all over.”

While student directors aren’t seen onstage, often their small touches backstage make all the difference in a show.

“We make sure everything is running smoothly,” Noble said.

Why have student directors?

Yes, student directing can be a lot of fun, but is it essential to the process of putting on a show?

“It takes a little bit off of the director’s plate,” senior and past student director Taylor Ross said. “It sort of makes everything easier because the directors can focus more on working the show.”

Not only do the directors benefit from student directors, but the actors can benefit too.

“When I’ve acted, I could go talk to the student directors instead of having to run around looking for the director,” Yanev said. “It’s also a great way to connect with some of the younger students in theater.”

With student directing benefiting both the director and the actors, the whole show benefits.

“I think it’s really important to have student input on things during a show,” Newman said. “Shows are better because there are student directors.” 

What happens after?

After the show is all over, what do the student directors do? They, of course, get ready to student-direct the next show they can.

“I can’t wait to student direct again,” Newman said. “I’m really excited.”

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About the Contributor
Kallista Schneiderman
Kallista Schneiderman, Staff Writer
New to The Forest Scout, Kallista is a junior who is involved in the theater and music program at LFHS, as well as a few clubs. When not rehearsing for her next show, you can find Kallista watching reality tv, thrifting, and enthusiastically creating secret handshakes. 
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  • J

    jMar 15, 2024 at 2:56 pm

    this was real cool !