Free Scene X Scene acting showcase highlights JM actors and their training

SILER CITY, N.C. — What happens in an acting class?

If you’d like to see for yourself — and be entertained by high school actors — be sure to attend the free performance showcase for Jordan-Matthews High School's Scene X Scene Acting Intensive. The 45-minute showcase will be held on Thursday, May 2, at 7 p.m., in the JM Auditorium.

Students will perform scenes, monologues and acting exercises to provide a window into how actors begin training for the stage. A reception for the audience and cast follows in the JM Media Center, where guests can speak with the actors and talk with creatives involved in creating the annual fall musical — including director Jessica Nunn, musical director Matt Fry and producer Rose Pate.

Fry said he encourages anyone interested in drama to attend, especially elementary through high school students who might want to venture onto the stage.

Weekly evening sessions in Scene X Scene acting intensive began in February and were conducted by Nunn, who is founder of The Phoenix Theatre Company, a theatrical company based in Chatham County that performs mystery dinner-shows throughout central North Carolina.

Nunn is pleased with the enthusiasm and growth of the almost 20 participants in the program. “The students have been all in — even the more reserved ones have jumped in and given everything a good go,” she said. “They are beginning to realize that the more initial work they put into a character, the more they get back in ease of performance.”

Studying acting can develop more than stage skills. “I've tried to link what they're learning to 'real life’ in terms of how our own memories can make it possible to relate to a character and, ultimately, other people,” said Nunn. “Any sort of character study, even in the small ways we've been able to do with this workshop, can be translated into the way we think about our own lives and the characters we encounter.”

Rose Pate, who also is president of JMArts, the Jordan-Matthews Arts Foundation, is delighted with the students’s response to the workshop. “We have a thriving musical program, but we get to spend very little rehearsal time building basic acting skills,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the showcase and seeing what our students have learned about performing on stage.”

Scene X Scene is produced by JMArts and made possible by a Grassroots Grant from the Chatham Arts Council. The project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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Laci Burt, from left, Natalie Santiago and Hannah Redding “freeze” during their devised fight scene. Students will create similar improvised scenes as part of the free Scene X Scene performance showcase on May 2 at Jordan-Matthews High School.

Laci Burt, from left, Natalie Santiago and Hannah Redding “freeze” during their devised fight scene. Students will create similar improvised scenes as part of the free Scene X Scene performance showcase on May 2 at Jordan-Matthews High School.

Zy’kiuh Marsh, left, and Gisselle Aleman Moreno threaten Corrine Collison as part of a small-group exercise during the Scene X Scene acting intensive at Jordan-Matthews.

Zy’kiuh Marsh, left, and Gisselle Aleman Moreno threaten Corrine Collison as part of a small-group exercise during the Scene X Scene acting intensive at Jordan-Matthews.

David Gonzalez Hernandez warms up at the beginning of a weekly Scene X Scene session.

David Gonzalez Hernandez warms up at the beginning of a weekly Scene X Scene session.