To him, theater is a skillset that allows anybody to tell a story. It’s playing a role, memorizing scripts and nailing the part. To her, theater is working alongside your best friends and making each moment count. Theater is practicing each song tirelessly in order to perfect her performance for next week’s play. To seniors Austin Dalgleish and Abby Cramer, theater is the experience of working together on the Shawnee Mission East stage.
Dalgleish and Cramer met through the East theater department and have spent the past four years performing in plays, musicals and frequent Fridays together, discovering what theater means to them.
“We met the first day of freshman year,” Dalgleish said. “She told me she had done some studio recording over the summer and I remember thinking ‘you think you’re so cool’, but [then I realized] she actually is so cool.”
After only the first week of school, Cramer and Dalgleish began to realize how well they got along. His loud and warming sense of humor always seemed to compliment her quiet and reserved talent. Throughout their time at East, they each have been able to use these qualities to push each other and sharpen their talents on the stage.
They are now taking their talents, along with skills they have learned from the East theater department, and carrying them on to college. For him, it’s the University of Southern California, for her it’s the University of Oklahoma. Their college experiences may look different, but they both know that what they’ve learned from each other is what will make theater special.
At the OU and USC, Cramer and Dalgleish will be able to expand their abilities and expand upon the world of performing arts that they both already love so much.
“They’re both very good and they don’t know how good they are yet,” theater teacher Brian Cappello said. “And it’s going to be cool to hear about them in the future. When they go to a college setting and they focus on that, the doors will open wide and they both will have very bright futures.”
Both OU and USC are schools with nationally acclaimed drama and theater programs. Dalgleish plans to get a bachelor’s degree in theater, while Cramer will be studying musical theater.
In the past four years working on the stage, Dalgleish realized that his passion is creating the production. To him, theater means planning and directing each detail and putting it all together into a single show. At USC, he will be able to explore managerial theater and directing in addition to his standard theater degree.
But at OU, Cramer’s idea of theater will remain rooted in music and singing, which is what she wants to pursue professionally.
“I think eventually I’ll end up moving to New York,” Cramer said. “I’ve always kind of thought about doing some kind of cabaret singing stuff, so maybe I will try to do that along with musical theater.”
Both Dalgleish and Cramer are keeping open minds for what the world has to offer, and for what theater can bring to both of them.
Above all, they’re both grateful for the experiences and friendships they’ve made at East and they know that their experience working together has allowed them to discover that theater is defined by people that take part in it.