Curtain Call

The seniors in the International Thespian Society share their memories and experiences from their time in the club.

Curtain+Call

The International Thespian Society (ITS) at West Bloomfield High School (WBHS) is an elite group of students who are heavily involved in the theatre department. WBHS Counselor and ITS advisor, Karen Brody, stated, “We had our largest group of new [ITS] members ever this year, showing that interest in drama  and excellence in drama combine here at WBHS.” There are nine seniors in ITS, four of them holding executive board positions. These seniors include Brooke Bain, John “Jack” Brenner, Samantha “Sam” Luken (Treasurer), Raina Pintamo (President), Haley Reeves, Emily Rooks, Joshua “Josh” Rusinov (Tech Liézon), Nick Stanfel, Maxim “Max” Vinogradov (Vice President).

The seniors gained many things from their experiences in ITS: Bain, three-year ITS member, said “I have made wonderful friendships and I am able to improve my theatre techniques. As a member of ITS, I am able to analyze and understand theatre in a way that I never have before. It’s wonderful to be able to interpret theatre.” Brenner, one-year ITS member, explained “ITS helped me broaden perspective in relation to theatre. Without ITS, I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much as I did over  the course of my high school career.” Luken, three-year member, said “I gained a sense of community and tradition.” Pintamo, three-year member, added, “I gained leadership skills from being in ITS.” Reeves, two-year ITS member described “By being an ITS member, I was able to learn more about theatre than I would have had I not been a part of it.” Rooks, one-year ITS member, shared, “I gained the responsibility to introduce new people to theatre and provide a role model for them to want to continue with theatre.” Rusinov, three-year ITS member, described, “From being in ITS I have expanded my circle of friends greatly. I came into contact with a lot of people I enjoy and I have learned some unique things about theater and life in general.” Stanfel, two-year ITS member, highlighted, “I gained many new friends and cohorts in the theatre program.” Vinogradov, three-year ITS member, concluded “The biggest thing… [I gained] was having the ability to help pick shows.”

Brody believed the highlight for the seniors was “We [WBHS Theatre Department] make sure they [ITS members] know that most high schools do not offer the amount of drama activities/productions that are available here at WBHS.  This is a wonderful opportunity and many of our seniors have taken full advantage of these things.” Each senior had their own highlight from being in the ITS: Bain shared “I always love using the skills that I have learned in ITS in my everyday life. Being in ITS has made me more confident when I talk to new people and I am able to communicate and interact with people better.” Brenner described “The highlight was the community that I related to and admired.” Luken shared “[The] highlights of ITS was the ITSies and induction ceremony.” Pintamo explained, “Highlights were marching in the parade and dressing people up for friend day.” Reeves added, “My favorite part of being in ITS would have to be getting closer to other students who share a passion for theatre.” Rooks stated, “I loved being part of a group that shows that success doesn’t only mean good grades. Success comes in all forms and I loved how ITS gives everyone a chance to succeed.” Rusinov said, “Being elected as tech liézon was a pretty big highlight. But I would say the greatest moments come when the new members are being initiated and brought into the program.” Stanfel highlighted that “Watching the induction ceremonies are always the best.” Vinogradov added “[My highlight was] Friend Day, the day we dress up new recruits as fun characters.”

As the seniors graduate, they look toward their future and whether or not they will stay invested in theater: Bain stated “I would love to keep theatre in my life as I start my journey in college. Even though I plan on majoring in medicine in college next year at MSU, I hope to be able to participate in BITH choir and theatre, either on campus or within the community. Theatre is such an important part of my life… I could never let it go.” Brenner added “I plan on doing theatre after high school but have not completely developed a plan as how I will do so, as I am shifting my focus to Film Studies in college.” Luken explained, “I have been hired as a production assistant at my college, GVSU, and will be working in their Shakespeare festivals scene shop.” Pintamo shared, “ I will most likely do some theatre in college but probably just community theatre shows.” Reeves described ,“Although I will be attending CCS (which, being an art school, does not offer courses in theatre) in the fall, I definitely plan on continuing in theatre after I graduate by becoming a part of the Detroit theatre community.” Rooks added, “I do… I’m majoring in Theatre Design and Technical Production at Western Michigan in the fall. And I hope to get involved in local theatres as well.” Rusinov shared, “Unfortunately I cannot continue theater in the same way after high school as my life plans just do not allow me time for it.” Stanfel stated, “I would love to, I always loved working on set but unfortunately the military doesn’t have a theatre program.” Vinogradov concluded, “I do [plan on continuing in theater]; I’ve auditioned for theaters in the Ann Arbor / Detroit area and plan on eventually attending a school for acting.”

Brody leaves the seniors with a final piece of advice as they leave high school: “’Therein all the honor lies!’” The seniors also leave their final piece of advice for ITS members: Bain stated “Celebrate life’s moments! Don’t forget that we only have one chance to make our high school experience the best that it could possibly be. It is so important to be yourself, to appreciate what you have, and to appreciate the people around you. Embrace the arts and take the advantages of all of your opportunities. And as a character I played said once, ‘You see, the whole thing is just your imagination.’ -Penny Sycamore, You Can’t It With You. Both theatre and life are what you make it!” Brenner said “My advice to future members would just be to have fun and take all the chances you can. If you’re passionate about theatre, ITS is perfect.” Luken suggested “Act well… and to respect your colleagues.” Pintamo explained, “I would tell future ITS members to try as hard as they can to participate in everything and fully give themselves to theatre.” Reeves shared, “To future members of ITS, I can only encourage each and every one of you to pursue your dreams, and to remember that you are a wildfire, and the world is made of brush. Go ahead and burn.” Rooks advised ,“My advice is to never doubt if you’re good enough. ITS allows literally everybody who tries and loves theatre. If you have an idea, no matter how small or fleeting, that you want to join ITS, DO IT!! You won’t regret a second spent in ITS.” Rusinov added, “I would tell future ITS members that theater takes a lot of hard work and commitment. I would tell them that it doesn’t work out how first expected but in any case that can be just fine.” Stanfel stated “Stay committed; don’t start but then have kind of a falling out like I did, if you want it, go for it and hold on to it.” Vinogradov concluded ,“Be smart when picking shows. Don’t go for shows you really want to do but shows you know you can do and make great.”

The dedicated seniors of ITS finish off their high school career with many memories of their experiences in the WBHS Theatre Program. As they leave high school and move on to new things, they will always remember their time, love, and commitment for theater.