By Kaitlyn Kelley
“One thing I really like is there is no censorship in that class. He lets us talk about
Tahoma junior Kaitlyn Tran
anything in that class that would be uncomfortable in regular school,” Tahoma junior Kaitlyn Tran said about the Advanced Drama Expeditions.
Tran has been in the Advanced Drama class since freshman year, and she was interested in acting as early as middle school. “Ever since I started acting, I’ve loved it so much and I join whenever I can,” Tran said.
“I like that I get to play a new person because that character is something I’ve never been,” Tran said, adding that “it’s fun to see how that character interprets things.”
Tran explained that when she came to Summit Tahoma and learned about the Expeditions courses she learned that drama was offered and signed up for the intro class, “But I guess they put me in advanced – although that was really scary, I was like, okay I’ll deal with it, and I’ve been doing it since freshman year, so three years now.”
Ron Johnson, the Advanced Drama teacher who started the Drama program at Summit, inspires many young people to follow their passion in acting, including Tran.
- Mr. Jay (on the right) leads his Drama students through a vocal warmup.
“Mr. Jay would also have classes outside of school, and I would go to those too,” Tran said. “I join whenever I can.”
The Tahoma Advanced Drama class puts on an original play at the end of every school year; Tran explained that the first two rounds is like the audition process, so Mr. Jay sees how well the students do at interpreting characters and then casts students into the characters from the final play.
Tran said that in the first round of Expeditions, “We chose one [a monologue] and memorize it and use our skills to figure out how we interpret the character and perform that in front of the whole class.”
Tran has been in two Summit Tahoma plays so far. In freshman year she played the main role in a play about Japanese interment camps, and in sophomore year she had two parts in a play about breakups. She is unsure about her role this year as they are still working on the play.
Tran also shared some of the things she struggles with in acting: “because I’ve learned so
Drama students warm up with an acting game.
much and there’s so many new students, it’s kind of hard to challenge myself because I’m always teaching other people, ” Tran said. “But I’m trying to challenge myself more that’s the challenge.”
She shared that when she first started acting her main challenge was expressing herself: “Back then it was hard for me to open up, and I was really scared to do it, but now I’m fine.”
Acting, even with its ups and downs, is something Tran said she wants to do in the future: “Yes, very much so. There are times where I’m like: Do I really want to do this? This is so hard; this is so challenging and could be a really unstable career, but it’s something I can’t imagine myself not doing.”
Tran added, “I hope to get more opportunities outside of school and make myself more independent.
Students listen to Mr. Jay as he talks about the importance of warmups.
She explained that being independent is very important in acting because you really have to put yourself out there and audition for roles.
Tran sees acting as an important part of her future. She went on to say, “I just want to be able to go to college and audition [on] the side.”
When talking about who inspires her in acting, Tran said, “Mr. Jay and Ms. Estrella are my acting mentors.” She went on to talk about people in Hollywood, “A person that really inspires me in Hollywood is Constance Wu,” Tran said.
Asian-American actress Constance Wu PHOTO CREDIT: Popsugar)
Constance Wu is an Asian-American actress who stars in ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” and many other shows. “Hearing her story and her talk about Asian-Americans and social media really inspires me,” Tran said.
When asked about why acting is so popular and influential, Tran said, “It’s really influential because it’s so relatable.”
Tran said she believes movies that talk about issues that have to do with the LGBTQ community or with race can make it so “others want to learn more. So that’s why they are on TV.”