It’s their happy place. For 14-year-old Violet Taylor being on stage is pure magic. The St Kentigern College student was thrilled when she heard that she was to play the lead role of Gabriella Montez in National Youth Theatre’s Disney’s High School Musical On Stage. Also from St Kent’s College, 15-year-old Adam Lucas who plays Coach Bolton, enjoys the complexity of the role as it gives him an insight into the human mind and helps understand people better. EastLife talks to both Violet and Adam on the roles they play in the entertaining musical.
Were you born to be on stage?
Violet: Yes! I have always been a loud person, I got my first taste of performing arts when I was seven-years-old in a choir solo, and haven’t looked back since. I’ve been involved in countless musicals, plays and music groups, both in and out of school.
Adam: My first ever chance to act on stage was when I was 10, featuring as Magpie Mac, in my primary school end-of-year production Mystery at Magpie Manor. This gave me a love for performing which I have maintained to this day.
How do you identify with the character you play in Disney’s High School Musical?
Violet: I grew up watching the High School Musical movies and I always gravitated towards my character Gabriella as she had quite similar qualities to me. For instance, Gabriella is a ‘brainiac’ but she wants to break free from the box, society puts you in and become more than just that. I relate to this a lot as I do many different activities at school, and love to show that you cannot be tied down to just one thing.
Adam: I understand Coach Bolton to be very rough around the edges, I find him brash and overbearing at times. But I find he truly loves his son, and he wants what is best for him, but he gets caught up in what he wants for his son, that he ignores what his son wants for himself. I can identify with his passion, as he is a very passionate person, something I can relate to.
What do you love most about the National Youth Theatre?
Violet: My favourite thing is the people and the environment it creates. This was my first show back after a few years and I just felt so welcomed and accepted. You meet such incredible people and make amazing friendships.
Adam: I love the community of NYT; everyone is very nice and welcoming. This is my first time working with NYT, and I have already made lots of friends with some amazing people. The directors, choreographers, and all the other staff are all amazing and very professional, they really help with creating a character, and they make rehearsals fun.
Biggest challenge on stage?
Violet: For me my biggest challenge on stage is just being confident and sure in myself, so I perform the very best I can.
Adam: Stage fright is probably my biggest challenge. I have, on occasion, messed up my lines in a performance simply due to stage fright. I find that I get so focussed on not making a mistake, and not making a fool of myself, I end up making a mistake, and a fool of myself!
Best part about this production?
Violet: It’s the escape it creates for me. Every week I get to see these people and do something I love, and it doesn’t really get any better than that.
Adam: The best part has probably been getting introduced to NYT and the community. Signing up was a brilliant decision, and it has been so incredibly fun to be a part of this production and meeting my fellow cast members. I won’t lie, going on camp was very fun, and that was a highlight, but meeting such amazing and kind people has made this production great.
How do you prepare for the role?
Violet: I prepared for this role by watching a lot of videos of other people playing Gabriella and deciding what I liked and didn’t like of their adaptations of the character. I then took what I liked and made my own version of the character I play.
Adam: I begin by learning my lines, via repetition, until I have achieved memorisation.
While doing this, I play around with the tone and volume until I find something that works. I also speak with the directors and other actors to get their opinion on how I should act, and what tone, volume, accent, physicality, I should use, and incorporate these ideas into my performance.