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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Choosing the right cast brings play to life

    By Jason Kwan

    Staff Writer


      Determined. Dedicated. Driven.

      These are words to describe drama teacher Jan Gluskin, who has the difficult task of casting students for the right roles and deciding which plays to put on throughout the year.  

     As the producer of Gabrielino High School’s plays, Gluskin decides which shows drama students will work on over the course of the year. When looking for a topic, her decision is based on student interests and the play’s relevance to today’s society.

      “I wanted to choose a [socially] conscious play, and I knew ‘Radium Girls’ would be perfect,” Gluskin explained.

      Set in the 1920s, “Radium Girls” traces the efforts of Grace Fryer, a clock painter who fought to improve working conditions and safety regulations after radium poisoning caused deaths among female workers.


      Students who wanted to participate in the show had to go through an application process, in which they picked up a script from the drama room and signed up for their desired roles. Each person filled out a contract providing background information about themselves, explaining why they wanted to perform, when they would be available for auditions, and if they had any notable talents that should be incorporated into the play.

      A week later, students who stood out were called back in small groups to recite lines and rehearse scenes.


       Regardless of how many plays a student has been a part of in previous years, Gluskin focuses on how well individuals can work with others and understand their characters’ backstories and emotions.

      “If a student fits the part, I don’t look twice,” said Gluskin, “I give roles based on who’s right for the part, not seniority.”

      According to Yasmin Miranda, the female lead in “Radium Girls,” an important aspect of playing a role is to understand and get into the mind of the character you are trying out for.

      “[Grace] changes drastically throughout the play from a naive girl to a knowledgeable, strong woman who knows her value,” Miranda smiled with pride, “I love that about her and I hope to do [her] justice.”      

        Miranda’s co-star, senior Benson Hong, stood out during casting because of his maturity made him someone they could build the play around.


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    Choosing the right cast brings play to life