Over summer break, junior Emily Botnen and sophomore AJ Welker performed in the Rocklin Community Theater production of Anything Goes.
Botnen has theatrical experience outside of a school environment and has been participating in community theater for several years.
Botnen and Welker both have a history of performing in community theater shows. However, this was their first time working together. Although Botnen and Welker’s characters did not interact much during the show, Welker found the experience of working together with Botnen on any scale beneficial.
“I love working with Emily- she’s so talented and I can learn from her and she’s just really positive and an optimist, and she’s also very funny,” Welker said.
Botnen also valued the time working with Welker.
“AJ and I, our characters didn’t really have that many scenes together. Her character was really dance heavy, AJ has a lot of dance experience and she’s extremely talented,” Botnen said. “But I was really happy to work with her outside of school because I had only worked with her in school before.”
Drama teacher Ashley White, who attended the production, had high expectations for Welker and Botnen before the production but found that they had been raised after watching them perform.
“I’ve always had high expectations for AJ and Emily because they exceed any guidelines that are given to them for a project- like a scene or a monologue, they go ten steps above and beyond,” White said. “Knowing that they’re taking the time to keep growing as actors and performers and challenging themselves with their roles and their pieces; being able to see that makes me think ‘okay great so you learned that and that this summer, let’s put that to work.’”
Botnen found it intriguing to see Welker in a different environment than they had experienced while working together in a school production.
“It was really cool seeing the way that she worked and her work ethic with a project that’s a lot more dance heavy then what we would do in school,” Botnen said.
Welker thought the challenge of adapting to a feature dance roll was enjoyable and beneficial.
“It was really fun because there were a lot challenges that it presented, but I was able to push myself and advance in areas in tap and musical theatre dance, which was a lot of fun,” Welker said.