‘Cyrano’ knows acting at Seton School

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Senior Brendan Santschi has attended Seton School in Manassas since seventh grade. He is a National Merit commended student and has been a standout actor. This past semester, he performed in all four productions that Seton offered. Here is an interview Brendan gave about his acting this year.

Q: You played a part in the fall play, “Cyrano,” the senior play; the language arts club’s Murder Mystery Dinner; and also acted in the improv group. What were your roles in each, which was your favorite, and why?

A: I don’t think about it too much. I guess I have been in a lot of things. I was Joe (who transformed into about five other minor characters as the scenes demanded) in our senior class production of “It’s a Wonderful Life;” Professor Plum in the Murder Mystery Dinner; and Cyrano in well, “Cyrano.” No one in improv has just one role. My favorite over this past semester was definitely getting to play the iconic Cyrano de Bergerac on stage. From sword-fighting while reciting a sonnet to actually learning how to play the mandolin, the role had no shortage of little adventures and fun challenges along the way.

Q: What are a few of your favorite memories from the first semester in Seton’s theater?

A: That’s a tough one — getting to create something with a bunch of your friends never leaves you short for fond memories. The most memorable occurrences usually happen when you’re rehearsing for a show. There was one time in prepping for the senior play that all the guys were in our dressing room just waiting for the rehearsal to start. Everyone was dressed up and just sitting around, when suddenly one of the seniors pulls out his saxophone to practice a bit because he was going to play during intermission. Within three minutes, the entire room was dancing around and singing along to his Christmas set. During the Murder Mystery Dinner, I had a blast seeing people’s faces as they walked into my room excited, only to be met with a random math equation to solve before I would give them a clue. Apart from an amazing fight scene I got to do with a bunch of my friends, I think my fondest actor memory from “Cyrano” was one particular character rehearsal a week or two before opening night. I was having trouble in a few of the scenes getting the right tone and feel for all my lines, so I went off to one of the corners of the gym we were practicing with our phenomenal assistant director, Carrie Hall, and we ran lines and discussed character motivations for over four hours. I know it sounds boring, but it felt like a heartbeat. She always has incredible ideas and a thousand ways to help you improve your performance and I’m so grateful for the chance to work with her.

Q: What makes a Seton School production special as compared to another school?

A: I have only acted at Seton, so I only know firsthand what it has. But from my conversations with other actors, I think one thing Seton productions have that is special is the purity of the theatrical community here. Seton Theatre is centered around bringing Christ to the people through our work as actors, and that idea permeates everything we do in a Seton production. Between the rules that are set up to protect everyone and the amazing group of people who are part of the theater community at Seton, I have never felt threatened or scared. At every practice, in every rehearsal and show, you always have a safe and welcoming environment around you, because it is all centered around Christ. I think that central idea brings a peace that makes being a part of a Seton production a truly incredible experience.

Q: Are you taking part in the spring musical this year? Do you predict it will be a musical to remember?

A: Sadly, I am not acting in the spring musical, though I may help out in some other facet such as stage crew. However, I have seen and heard the people that will be making up this year’s cast, and I can confidently say it will be an outstanding theatrical performance that is definitely worth coming to see if you have the chance.

Q: Will you continue with theater after you graduate from Seton? Why or why not?

A: While I don’t plan on following it as a career path, I would not be surprised to see myself in a few minor things in the future. Everything has its stressful moments and acting is by no means an exception, but there is something exhilarating about getting up on that stage when the lights go on and a crowd of people is staring, ready to hear the story that you get to tell them, even if all you do is stand in a crowd and create a backdrop with your reaction. It’s truly an amazing experience to the see the magic of people inspired with an idea unfold on stage, whether you’re up there with them, or in a seat looking into the world created in front of you.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018