By Lindsey May
Freshman John Malley has been acting since he was in sixth grade, but he had not become heavily involved until he came to Leon. Malley is mostly known for playing Atticus Finch in Leon High School’s production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
“I’ve had multiple people just call me Atticus walking through the halls,” said Malley.
When preparing for the role of Atticus, Malley took about three weeks to memorize his lines, but that was just the beginning.
Malley had to work very hard to develop his character, especially since it is such a large role in such a meaningful play. Since he had a greater responsibility, he said that it was challenging and very intense.
With “To Kill a Mockingbird,” there are very limited directions for how the play is supposed to be done. It is left up to the interpretation of the directors and the actors, or as Malley said, “the script acts as a base of which you build your own interpretation.”
Malley said that the rehearsal process had been “exhausting at times,” but he is very passionate for theatre. He admires Mrs. Marshall, the theatre teacher, for helping him with his character development and delivering lines.
“[Mrs. Marshall has] driven me to be a much better performer,” said Malley.
Malley struggles with anxiety, but theatre helps him to cope with this. Sometimes he gets so far into a role that he will “zone out” on stage and not even realize that he’s saying his lines. When he works hard, saying his lines “comes naturally.”
“Stage fright never goes away,” says Malley. “You just get used to being absolutely terrified.”
The week leading up to the show can be particularly stressful. People involved in theatre will sometimes refer to this as “hell week.” Yet, Malley believes that all of this is worth it because of the final product. He likes being able to work with many talented people.
Malley’s favorite shows that he has done have both been at Leon, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Little Mermaid.”
“The Little Mermaid” was Leon’s summer musical and the first Leon production that Malley was able to get involved in. Malley claims that “The Little Mermaid” is really what got him passionate for theatre at Leon.
While Malley enjoys both singing and acting, he believes that he has more experience acting, but wants to get better at singing. Malley is one of the few freshmen in Mane Event, a choral group at Leon.
“My chorus friends are definitely the closest friends I have,” said Malley. He developed many strong bonds in chorus.
Both of his parents are involved in theatre and most of his siblings are as well. His parents are extremely supportive of his involvement in theatre.
“[Theatre is] a part of my life and a part of my family,” Malley said.
The first time Malley really felt a deep connection with theatre was when he saw “Oliver” at Young Actors Theatre when he was seven or eight years old.
Theatre has given Malley the strongest friendships, the ability to speak and relate to others and the ability to feel comfortable looking stupid in front of others.