The velvet curtains open, revealing an audience that sprawls across the large theater. The heat from the blinding stage lights slams into your face as you stand center stage. A wave of applause and standing ovations build in volume as you bow your head in salute.
Many yearn for the adventure and excitement that an acting career can offer and dream of what success might look like. For Caroline Mack, Wellesley High School `22, that dream is coming true. Mack is involved in the performing and choir arts departments at Wellesley High and hopes to follow her passions on and off stage after graduating.
Mack began singing and acting in fourth grade when her parents enrolled her in a children’s theater group called “Miss Cindy’s Theater Company’s Cabarets”. Since then, Mack has been passionate about creating meaningful productions with compelling stories. Throughout her time in college, she participated in theater and choir. In high school, Mack “performed on all the high school shows that [she] perhaps. Mack is also an involved member of the high school choral department. She sings with Concert Choir, Song Sisters and the selected ensemble Keynotes Singers. `
“I worked for four years in the performing arts department. I stay involved because I love it! I wouldn’t want to do anything else to fill the time. All of my friends are involved in the performing arts and it’s just the best community,” Mack said.
Mack is an excellent and hilarious actress – her stage skills earned accolades and numerous awards throughout her time in middle school and high school. In addition to her stage presence, Mack’s role as a writer and show producer is impressive. His second year in one act, Weirdwon an acting award and his first year One-Act, I make you diethird in a competition.
Kara Sullivan, a drama professor at WHS, has been a guiding figure for Mack over the years. Mack first met Sullivan in sixth grade when she was a middle school drama teacher. Coincidentally, they both moved on to high school in the same year.
“As my grade has increased throughout our time with Ms. Sullivan as a teacher, we have also seen it grow tremendously. She’s confident, powerful and hilarious – and I wouldn’t have wanted any other teacher by my side for the past seven years. She’s honestly a big part of why I do theater in college,” Mack said.
Sullivan and Mack have worked together on numerous productions, student-directed projects, and written works, including the New Works revival for Acting 3. Sullivan praises Mack’s leadership skills.
“She’s really good at recognizing where she is and where she wants to be and how she can get there, and I really appreciate that about her. She’s always tried to be better and better,” Sullivan said.
To look forward
When Mack looks to the future, she imagines herself participating in theater in any way she can.
“[I’m] I look forward to opportunities in different places,” Mack said, “I love New York, obviously a theater hub. So, living in different places and experiencing theater scenes, especially in cities wherever I find myself, I’m really looking forward to discovering a wider range of actors, singers and artists.
Besides acting, Mack’s supporters hope she’ll continue writing and directing after high school.
“Everyone knows Caroline as an actress, but I think she should also try directing. She brings feminism into everything in the best way possible and really brings so many great ideas to whatever she’s working on – I think she should stick with it,” said Lucy Calcio ’22, Mack’s friend and fellow comedienne.
Mack has a passion for writing and poetry. Her favorite subject at school is English, although she’s not always sure about sharing her writing.
“[It’s] funny because you would think that someone who goes on stage shouldn’t be afraid of this stuff, but I’m so afraid of criticism in my writing, maybe because it’s so close to my heart” , Mack said.
The past two years have made live performance very difficult for the theater and choir departments, so for Mack, getting back to normal means more than just taking off his mask. The performing arts are about the community, for Mack and for the people who participate in the department alongside him.
“My favorite thing about singing and playing in school is probably the community, which sounds corny. I think everyone has found their place in high school, whether you’re a fan of art, sport or whatever. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t play and sing.
Mack was able to perform in the widely acclaimed a cappella performances: Acatober, last October, and Acastock in March. More recently, she starred in the school musical, Mama Mia!one of the first performances without a mask in a few years.
“It can be easy to forget why we play until we get to it. I miss the performance rush – the pre-show jitters, the post-show celebrations, the onstage connections – it’s something that feels like a long-lost memory,” Mack said. “So I guess what I’ve learned is to appreciate every moment that we get. We’re so lucky to live in a city that gives us so many performance opportunities and we might not have- never be that freedom and abundance of spectacle again,” Mack said.
Next fall, Mack will attend Marymount Manhattan College where she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in theater arts, with a minor in gender and sexuality studies.
Article written by WHS Bradford staff: Clementine Zei `24, Special Projects Editor, and Annabelle Nolan `23, Associate Features Editor.