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Refining the art of stage performance

Lake Orion High School grad reports from Chicago College

Lake Orion grad Diane McNulty plays a dark role in "Dead City." Photo submitted (click for larger version)
December 22, 2010 - It was about one year ago that the people of Lake Orion were treated to the student production of "Annie get your Gun," and the talents of then LOHS senior Diane McNulty.

Those who enjoyed witnessing the actress's ability will be happy to know that McNulty is continuing her pursuit of becoming a performer at Chicago's Columbia College, where she is already acting in school productions.

"At Columbia, they have a huge board of audition officials, but I signed up, auditioned, and got a call back," said McNulty, who has acted in two plays in the one semester she has spent at the college.

"It was all very professional, unlike in high school where you get one chance to try out and you're done, if you don't get into one play there are eight others you have a shot at with the same board. The kids here really want to be here, they show up on time, try really hard, and its just a different feeling working here."

McNulty added that her most recent play, "Dead City" by Sheila Callaghan, was directed by senior student Emily Darlington, and that a freshmen getting into a senior's play is rare.

A far cry from the carefree world of "Annie get your Gun," "Dead City" explores life in an age where physical communication has taken a backseat to work efficiency, pleasure, and technology.

McNulty plays the poet Jewel Jupiter, once called a called a child prodigy, now in her early twenties and struggling to get work. The character is an alcoholic and performs a much more mature role than Annie.

But despite the opportunity to play in an advanced role, McNulty maintains that she is still learning.

"By my final year in high school, I felt like a lot of my time was spent helping others, and teaching others," said McNulty. "Here I can kind of start again, work on my own technique, and learn from the other more experienced students."

In addition to having a 16 credit semester next year, McNulty will also be working four days a week. She plans to work as an assistant stage manager while getting to know the student directors in the hopes of forming professional connections.

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