Two Yelm Running Start students perform in SPSCC musical

‘Amélie’ is based on a French film


Adrian Roberto and Alex “Allie” Goodrich, both Yelm High School juniors and South Puget Sound Community College Running Start students, dusted off their best French accents for the SPSCC Theatre Collective’s musical presentation of “Amélie” this month.

It was the first college production for Roberto and Goodrich, who got their start on the acting stage with the YHS drama club. “Amélie,” based on the 2001 French film of the same name, follows the story of a young woman who creates waves of joy and mayhem through her imagination and acts of kindness.

After the final show on Sunday, May 26, at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts in front of a full house, the juniors said the leap in intensity and maturity with the college show will benefit their careers going forward.

“There’s a whole new caliber of professionalism that we encountered working in this sphere with other professionals,” said Roberto, who played Lucien and the mysterious man. “There’s a lot more responsibilities that you have to do, and it’s a lot more fast-paced than a high school production.”

Goodrich and Roberto were two of the three SPSCC students on the 13-man cast for “Amélie,” which includes actors who have performed in productions at Olympia Family Theater, Patio Playhouse Escondido, Standing Room Only and more. The Theatre Collective put on five performances from May 17 through May 26, and the two YHS students enjoyed the opportunity to test their experience from the drama club into “Amélie.”

“It definitely brings you into the college expectation, and it helps me connect with these adults and people that can help me further grow,” said Goodrich, who played Joseph and a goldfish.

Auditions began in early April and production kicked off later that month, a much quicker turnaround than their typical three- or four-month timeframe in high school. Because of this, Roberto and Goodrich had to prepare for three to four hours a day to become one with their characters. Channeling the character was easy to do for Roberto, whose character is a grocer obsessed with produce.

“The difference is that you have to eat, sleep and breathe as your character as you go throughout your day. It’s not like in high school where you have time to turn your brain off,” Roberto said. “I work at a grocery store, so I find myself breathing life into my character based on what I do for work because I bag a lot of produce. There’s a lot of finite details that are the cherry on top.”

YHS drama club director Dale Sharp pushed the two state thespian competitors to audition for “Amélie,” and the students said they are happy to have another outlet to perform, especially with the future of the drama club up in the air due to the failure of the Yelm Community Schools levy.

“After the levy failed, we have such a huge burden to fill after this, and I feel like this production has helped us to understand what the expectation is at a bigger level. We can teach that to others and give them that knowledge,” Goodrich said. “It gives me a lot of hope for the future. Dale is awesome. He’s such a great director. He’s a teacher, but he’s also like a friend. He’s always helped us with these things, like with ‘Amélie.’ ”

Roberto concurred that this experience in “Amélie” gives him and Goodrich the opportunity to be role models for younger students getting involved in theater, especially ones who were hesitant and afraid to jump into it.

“We want to become role models for other students, especially for the younger classes who have so much to learn and I have so much faith in,” Roberto said.

The junior actors enjoyed being able to put smiles on the faces of those in the audience and giving them life lessons.

“I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh. This is a very comedic show, and it depends on the audience whether they laugh more or not,” Goodrich said. “Every time I did the fish, everyone would always bust out with laughter, and it’s so fun to be on stage and hear that people are happy watching me perform and do what I love.”