As someone who has been in and around the theater his entire life, I knew that my AHS Capstone project would involve some sort of production. Luckily for me, Claire Barnes was already planning on putting on a production of one of my favorite musicals, Next to Normal, for her capstone project. I hopped on board and now we are playing Diana and Dan, the wife and husband leads of the show.
My project has a major section and a minor section. The major section is the actual acting. As someone who has never formally taken an acting class, I am embracing this opportunity as a great chance to learn in a private, personal matter. In addition, this show is giving me an acting opportunity that will extend my range as an actor. Actors have types - the typical sort of character they play. For me, that means the young, optimistic, tenor love interest lead. Playing Dan is a challenge for me because it is essentially the opposite of my type: older, tired, and fatherly. The very intense dramatic nature of this show also provides me an interesting opportunity because I rarely am involved in very dramatic scenes. I am excited at the opportunity to portray this role to the best of my abilities.
The minor section, but by no means less important section, is research into mental illness. As part of developing my character, I am looking into how mental illness can affect social life, especially amongst family members. I will also be writing a note that will be in the playbill, discussing the role of mental illness in a family environment. I hope that this research will assist in my character development to create a deeper, more believable persona.
Liebson, Brian, "Next to Normal" (2015). 2015 AHS Capstone Projects. 5.