“Theater geek” and actor of 12 years, Armando Garcia has finally lived out one of his greatest dreams.
And he’s only a senior in high school.
For his senior project, Garcia produced and directed a one act play, “Wanda’s Visit” and held it in the black box theater for everyone to watch and enjoy.
The choice of the play, “Wanda’s Visit” by Christopher Durang, was actually more coincidental than it seems according to Garcia, who came it across it simply by browsing the internet.
Garcia said, “I knew I wanted a smaller cast and a comedy genre, but also a little heart and that’s how I ended up with it.”
Garcia’s consultant and drama club teacher, Gregg Osborn, said “[Wanda’s Visit] is not everyone’s cup of tea but Armando enjoys the humor of Christopher Durang and I believe his audience would as well so it was a good choice for him.”
However, with some large, comedic shoes to fill, Garcia needed some large, comedic personalities.
“I wanted people who could match that ‘over-the-top’ cast accordingly,” he said.
Being that Garcia is an experienced member of the Highland Players, it was not a surprise that all of his cast were some of his closest fellow Player members, a couple actors even being alumni.
Garcia held auditions for his play over summer and received a considerable turnout, making his final casting cut a difficult one.
“Communication was definitely probably the hardest aspect of my project. Having to get my point across with my 6 actors and 5 crew members and having them understand what I want from them is all part of the director’s job and it can be difficult sometimes,” the 17-year-old said. “But the cast was amazing and fit my vision so well, I couldn’t have been prouder.”
Garcia’s one-night-only showing of “Wanda’s Visit,” maxed overcapacity in the black box theater, with 105 people in attendance and an even larger applause as the show came to an end.
“I was nervous up until the day of thinking, ‘What if nobody comes?’ and ‘What if it’s just Mom and Dad in the audience?’ but I was able to get a full house and then some, so that was awesome.”
Osborn said of Garcia, “I was very confident in his abilities. He’s been Drama Club President for two years in a row and very experienced with the shows here. I thought he did a great job of keeping control, conducting rehearsals, and … giving feedback to his cast.”
Sable Beltran, senior and actress who played Marsha in the play, described the play as “better than [they] ever could have imagined.”
“Armando did a fantastic job with his project,” she said.
Overall, despite the overwhelming stress and a time crunch to produce the play, Garcia believes that it was all worth it for the laughs and enjoyment of the audience.
“I’m happy with how it turned out,” Garcia said. “I know that I had a lot of fun, the people involved had a lot of fun, and the audience did as well and that’s all I could really ask for. I’m just glad that my senior project is done, that’s for sure,” he said with a laugh.
Garcia hopes this isn’t the last piece of work with his name on it.
“The thing about Armando is that if he puts his mind to [anything], he’ll be successful. He’s that type of person that when something catches his interest, he’ll jump into it. I expect him to be successful in whatever he chooses to pursue,” said Osborn of Garcia’s future in the theatre industry.
“Theatre allows me to perform. It’s not like I just want people to know my name, I like to perform because the entire concept of taking on another character is challenging and rewarding at the same time,” Garcia said. “You start to build with a relationship with your character you’re playing … and it allows you to have a fresh start and escape sometimes.”
“It was exciting to see what we created as a team and watch the play from a different role than I usually do. It was such a great feeling. Hopefully, I’ll get to do it much more in the future.”