Sophomores Margaret Gahagen and Tessa Holifield love the stage. They have both performed in multiple shows since their childhood, at Providence and in community theatre and are continuing that tradition this school year. This weekend and next, they will perform in Once upon a Mattress at Clarksville Little Theatre.
Both girls had previously performed at the local theatre at least once when they were younger and were eager to audition when they saw the casting call on Facebook – especially when they realized Mr. Ron Breedlove, musical theatre teacher, was the show’s music director.
Tessa plays the Nightingale of Samarkand, who sings a lullaby in an attempt to help the princess sleep. Margaret plays Lady Larken, a noblewoman who wishes to marry a knight of the kingdom against the wishes of the Queen.
As high school students in a community theatre production, the two are the youngest performers in the cast, but they said they liked getting to meet new actors from the area.
“I like that it’s people from all different parts of the community,” Margaret said. “It’s interacting with people we might not otherwise without that theatre setting.”
Both girls also had different summer theatre experiences. Tessa performed in Redline Performing Arts’ production of Hairspray at The Henry Clay in Louisville. She portrayed Prudy Pingleton, the controlling, uptight mother of the lead character, and enjoyed not only the acting experience but, like with her current show, meeting new people.
“It was a really diverse cast,” Tessa said. “It was fun to work with people of different backgrounds.”
Margaret had an internship with StageOne Family Theatre’s summer camp, working three one-week sessions teaching 4- and 5-year-olds. She said she really enjoyed working with that age group and teaching them the basics of theatre.
“Watching them grow in it (theatre) was really fun,” Margaret said.
Margaret and Tessa are now looking forward to their Providence productions. They have the lead roles in next month’s children’s show, Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook. They also are in the Musical Theatre class and plan to try out for the spring musical, Shrek.
For both girls, acting with their friends is one of their favorite parts of performing. But being on stage also has its allure.
“I love mainly how happy it makes me,” Tessa said. “Being on stage, being under the stage lights, being in costume and the joy all that brings me doesn’t compare with anything else.
“I love how freeing it is to just be up on a stage and performing,” Margaret said. “I love how happy it makes me. It’s so cool how people can work together with just a script printed in a book and with just sheet music and then something completely magical can happen.”