Maya and Conor: “Production gave us creative freedom”

Getting to grips with their quirky characters in the College’s recent production of ‘Aberration’ was an exciting creative challenge for Year 13 Arts Prefect, Maya Reed and Year 12 student, Conor McDermott.

Both actors showed fantastic commitment to their characters throughout the show, which was evidence of the thought they had given to bringing their characters to life. Maya was cast as Vance, leader of ‘The Cogs’ (machines that make toys) and Conor played a defective toy, longing for love and acceptance.

Every alternate year, senior students at Long Bay College are given the opportunity to direct a show. This year, it went next level because the production was not only directed by Year 12 students, Tace Chapman and Amelia Claridge but also written by them.

Thanks to the show’s originality, the directors and actors enjoyed the freedom of bringing their own creativity to the story and the characters they portrayed, without the weight of audience preconceptions and expectations. “It was great. We were the first people to play these characters, ever!” says Maya.

Conor, who studies Drama and Music and has been interested in the Performing Arts since Intermediate. He says it was initially quite difficult to connect with his character, Ike. “He was a bit Puck from a ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’; he was playful, cheeky and annoying. I kept adding things that were enjoyable for me to play but also for the audience to watch until it all just fitted.”

Maya says her character Vance, also developed over time. “I began by playing her staunch with a deep voice but I made the character more interesting by bringing in some passive aggressive characteristics, which was great fun to play!”

The two students enjoyed working under the directorship of their peers, Tace and Amelia. ” They are my friends and I wanted to support them, but because they are my age, I also felt I could offer more [ideas] to the show. We are used to being led by a teacher, but we knew it was important to respect them [Tace and Amelia] as directors,” says Maya.

Both Conor and Maya have taken part in College productions in various ways since they were juniors, including supporting roles in last year’s production, ‘The Sound Of Music’. They were delighted to land lead roles in Aberration.

One of the high points of getting involved in the College’s productions is the chance to meet others. “It brings all the year groups together. I really like watching the juniors grow and helping them to achieve, says Maya.  Conor adds, “It was nice to work with others like Maya who I have always looked up to. In production, everyone mingles. The Drama group is like a family.”

For this pair, the greatest highlight of all is the chance to perform to an audience. “I love the reaction from the crowd. You’re just buzzing,” says Maya. “You work on something, you rehearse, you get nervous and perform. The crowd reacts and then you can see them feeling something. You feel the energy of the crowd and you want to try your best for the audience.”

Maya, who also studies Drama is in now in her final weeks of College. She is considering her options for next year (potentially a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Drama). “No matter what I do, I want to keep doing Drama,” she said.

In 2020, Conor will be in Year 13 and will audition for the College’s production. After graduating high school, he intends to study “something Science” at university but hopes his future also includes the opportunity to perform.

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