By ELENA GRANDE
For Your Niskayuna
NISKAYUNA — Niskayuna High School’s Drama Club presented its fourth annual Monologue Night on Friday, Nov. 14.
The event, which has been free since the first edition in 2011, began at 6:30 and ran for about an hour.
“What I personally like about Monologue Night is that this event gives students a chance to be on stage who might not get an opportunity to be in the spring play or the music department-run winter musical,” said Drama Club adviser Regina Maley. “We have so much talent at the high school, and not everyone can be cast in the musical or play.”
Perhaps more impressive is the fact that auditions for the event were held not even two weeks earlier, on Nov. 5. The cast and crew were given just a few days to get ready.
Despite the time crunch, they were able to pull everything together, and the night flowed seamlessly.
The night featured published pieces as well as original works that were recited from memory.
The passion and dedication of the 16 performers was evident in each of their performances.
Jonathan Mannato, who with classmate Kat Taylor is co-president of the Drama Club, was satisfied with the show’s run, and especially with its performers.
“They’re a very talented group of actors whom I love,” he said. “I’m happy to be a part of this experience.”
The performances ranged from five to 10 minutes in length, and many featured costumes to enhance the effects. Ensembles ranged from elaborate Shakespearean garb to ordinary street clothes.
This year produced the biggest crowd yet, with 80 people in attendance. As has become tradition for Monologue Night, audience members raved about the show.
Mannato and Taylor said acting as Drama Club co-presidents had helped them become better leaders.
“Seeing people grow is such a rewarding experience,” Taylor said. “The impact we’re able to have on the other members is crazy.”
By accepting the roles of co-presidents, Taylor and Mannato were introduced to leadership and mentoring, a side of the Drama Club completely different from their experiences as members in past years. Although the positions are time-consuming and come with a host of responsibilities, the two friends said they see it as an honor and a privilege.
“We’re able to work closely with each individual member, whether it be as a whole or group, or one-on-one,” Taylor said.
They’re in charge of more than just Monologue Night. A typical meeting for the club includes lively improvisational games designed to help members be more confident on stage, a comfortable atmosphere, and of course, lots of food. The fun and games help the club members prepare for spectacular productions throughout the school year, including a spring play and the annual monologue event.
At the conclusion of the performances, the cast reconvened on stage for the curtain call, and for one last surprise. After much anticipation, Taylor and Mannato revealed the spring play: “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
The play is set to run at the end of May, and auditions will begin the day after the winter musical — “Sweeney Todd” — ends.