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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Youth Spotlight: Drama Class A 'Transformative' Experience

Through improvisation, Aaron Brown has been able to express emotions through scenes that are "safe".

By Aaron Brown | October 28, 2008

My name is Aaron Brown and I am in the tenth grade at University School in Johnson City, Tenn. When I was in the second grade, I was in my first play, Once Upon a Lily Pad. I remember liking it because it was a musical and I got to sing and dance some, and it also felt great to experience the audience being moved by us kids.

After that I wanted to be in any plays that the school was putting on. I was probably in three or four more before I became involved in the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre (JRT). I think I was in the 7th grade when my Mom took me to audition for Waiting on the Moon, and that is when I signed up for drama classes at JRT. I didn't get the part I tried out for, which made me sad, but I knew I had to keep trying.

I really loved drama classes and really loved the teachers, Kathleen [Buttolph] and Janna [Gaines]. I learned a lot and had a great time. I have been involved ever since. The classes I have taken are Beginning Acting I and II, Transformative Theatre, and improvisational class. They were all good, but I think I've gotten the most from Transformative Theatre with Janna, who was the instructor for that class. I was able to express emotions and feelings through scenes that were safe. My Mom says that my attitude and behavior has been much improved by my theatre experience. I think it has, too. I don't feel as troubled or as angry as I had in the past.

One of my favorite plays that I performed in was called Family: Can't Live With "Em, Can't Live Without "Em. My fellow thespians and I actually wrote and performed all the scenes in the play. The bond that we formed in that class was amazing. It was hard when that class ended because we became so close.

I am currently in my second improvisational class, which I love because we get to be so creative. I plan to take another Transformative Theatre class, along with scene study and monologue. I also plan on auditioning for The Crucible [JRT's performances are Oct. 30-Nov. 9].

Auditioning is scary and exciting. It's scary because I may have to suffer rejection. It feels like a loss when you're not chosen. My teachers tell me that it's part of theatre, and not to worry about it and just have fun. It's still hard.

I would like a career in theater. I want to be an actor. I would love to work on Broadway. I think I need singing lessons and dancing lessons first. In the meantime, I will try out for anything that comes along.

I would definitely recommend theater to other people and other kids. It's a great opportunity and you can make lots of new friends. I often try to get my Mom to audition but she says she doesn't have time. Really, she is too scared of rejection.

The Transformative Theatre class included: from left, Heather Crawford, Anna Murphy, Aaron Brown, Emily McLeon, Amani Owusu, Jordan Belcher, Madison Hensley, and instructor Janna Browning.