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McCassling stars as the Thespian president

SUN. | 12-18-22 | FEATURES

     Sometimes the spark that shines inside of you isn’t always lit by a flame, but by the spotlight. This applies to Rose’s International Thespian Society president, junior A’kira McCassling. 

     McCassling has been working with the Rose theater for three years and recently was elected the president of the International Thespian Society. She continued to strive in her theater career in the most recent Rose play, ‘The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens,’ playing the narrator, Walter and engaging in a new audience interaction.

Akira 1.HEIC

Photo by Maya Swaggerty

     “It isn’t like anything we’ve ever done before with our past plays and musicals,” McCassling said.

     McCassling has always had a love for theater and arts because of her biggest inspiration, her grandmother. She grew up in a household full of music and dances, including the movies ‘Hairspray’, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘The Wiz.’ However, she did not pursue these interests until her freshman year of high school, during which she fell in love with the art of theater. 

     “[My grandma] really liked musicals,” McCassling said. “She really was the one who got me into musicals.”

When obtaining her role as president, it was a simple process. Even though it may not be a huge ceremony, McCassling feels that the title means a lot to her, and knowing that the other cast members are counting on her, she has confidence that she will not let them down.

“I feel like I am a natural leader myself, but have never been appointed to a leadership role like that,” McCassling said. “So having a lot of people putting the events and dates and planning into my hands, I really felt the love of my club.” 

     Over the years, McCassling has found Rose graduate Brena Gauland to be her biggest inspiration in going for the president position. In the previous year, Gauland was the International Thespians Society president, along with being the Future Business Leaders of America president, both of which McCassling was a member of. Although Gauland has many outstanding qualities, the one that stood out to McCassling the most was her work ethic.

     “I want to be able to be a good role model like Brena was,” McCassling said.

     Theater can be more than just an arts class to some individuals. McCassling’s love for theater continues to grow as she plans to attend the Winston-Salem State University Art School, in hopes of preparing for Broadway in New York. 

     The large support group McCassling calls theater, has impacted her high school career by shaping and giving her a backbone. She has made many friends that she wouldn’t have made before and continues to stick with them. As they worked together as a team to piece ‘The Plot, like Gravy, Thickens,’ it truly needed every working hand, especially as they went through the tedious week they call ‘tech week’. This week is a whole week devoted to testing the lights, music, costumes, and orchestra if one was provided. It is very time consuming, usually lasting until 9 o’clock at night, and stressful causing her at some times to want to quit.

     “All those times when I said I was going to quit, I didn’t,” McCassling said. “I stuck it through and this is why.” 

      It can be assumed that their process in building the show is easy, without actually knowing all the work it takes behind the scenes. Theater takes months of planning and can take up all of your time, but to McCassling, the end result is always worth it.

     “You are always putting on some kind of performance,” McCassling said. “Whether it is having to do a speech or having to volunteer, you are always having to put your best foot out there and I think theater encompasses that perfectly.”

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