Miranda Cisneros received her greatest compliment in the form of a rejection.
The Henry County High School senior performs as Hermia in the high school’s production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare. The play opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29.
Henry County High School and Middle School Vocal Music and Theater Director Russell Cooper didn’t cast Cisneros as Dorothy in the high school’s production of the Wizard of Oz and the experience has made her a better actress.
“I cried when I didn’t get the part,” Cisneros said. “He said I was one of the best actresses at the high school but I needed to work on my rhythm and notes for the musical side of the part.”
Cisneros has been active in theater productions since her sophomore year. Cooper worked on the monologue with Cisneros after school for the audition. Cisneros labored for months over the script memorizing lines for scenes she thought he would go over during auditions just to impress the director, but alas, it seemed all for naught.
“He is pretty hard on me and he drives me nuts sometimes,” Cisneros said. “He expects a lot out of me and I like that he expects a lot out of me. He does that to people when he sees their potential and knows what they are capable of.”
Cooper considers Cisneros involvement in acting reassuring.
“It’s encouraging to see a student so engaged with the craft,” Cooper said. “Whether preparing for a role or working backstage, Miranda always gives her all and carries herself like a professional.”
Cisneros credits Cooper for her increased proficiency and interest in theater. She and the director have worked outside of class on refining her craft, increasing her ability as an actress. At Cooper’s advisement, the aspiring actress enrolled in the high school choral classes to forge stronger musical ability.
“I love musical theater and I love singing,” Cisneros said. “I am now learning more about rhythms. I needed to get into chorus. I have the ability. I just need to work on the technicality and he has helped me do that.”
Cisneros auditioned for all state chorus this fall. She works as a teacher’s aide for Cooper in her sixth period at school and in between classes they have worked on theater.
“He helped me break down the Shakespearian monologue I auditioned with for Hermia,” Cisneros said. “He has helped me so much. He’s coaching me on my monologues for my auditions for college.”
On her 18th birthday, Cisneros will audition on Feb. 18th at Centre College in Danville for a performing arts scholarship. The Henry County senior hopes to major in dramatic arts at Centre College or the University of Louisville.
“I couldn’t afford to go to Centre so I need to get my performing arts scholarship,” Cisneros said. “It could make for the best day or the worst.”
Cisneros said she and Cooper have been working on her two monologues for the audition. The support from him, and her family, have been greatly appreciated.
“My father died when I was five. I am super close to my older sister. She basically took on the role and care of helping raise me. It’s just me, my mom and my older sister. They are really proud. They are just two people I love the most and I am just as proud of them as they are of me,” Cisneros said. “My dad was really into music and artsy kinds of stuff. He said he wanted one of his girls to be musically inclined. I went from band in middle school and cheerleading to theater and voice.”
Cisneros has little free time. Between the college and honor courses she takes at high school, the at-one-time three jobs she had before dedicating time to rehearsal, leaves little room for anything else.
“I love hanging out with family and friends. I don’t really go out to see movies or anything,” Cisneros said. “If someone is having a cookout or bonfire I will go to that. My senior class is really close and we have fun together.”
Cisneros hopes people will come out and support the production.
“Sports gets a lot of attention here and I love going to the games, but we put a lot of time into memorizing lines, working on music for musicals and choreography,” Cisneros said. “It’s a lot of work. We practice just as much if not more than the football or basketball team. I love theater — it allows you to step away from your life, become someone else and leave your problems behind.”
Tickets can be purchased online for Midsummer’s Night Dream with new seating selection for attendees.
For more information visit Henry County Public Schools Fine Arts Facebook page or purchase tickets online at www.ticketpeak.com/hcpsfinearts
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