Granite City High School senior Athena Comer started performing in the fine arts department’s stage plays as a sophomore.
And she delivered her last performance in “Sleeping Beauty” as Sleeping Beauty during its three-day run March 19-21. The thought of a last performance brought mixed feelings.
“It’s bittersweet; I’m going to miss everyone here,” Comer said. “These people here, they’re like my second family, but I’m also going to be starting a new chapter in my life. This makes me excited.”
The senior said she liked the number of special effects in the play such as a spinning cauldron, a flying bird and a moving spindle.
“I think it enhances the performance,” she said. “It’s a lot more fun to work with the effects. It brings the show more to life.”
Comer plans on attending McKendree College in Lebanon next year, where she plans on being involved in music.
But there’s more than one senior performing for the last time with the school. Unlike Comer, Senior D’mitry Espinoza, who played Prince Charming, is new to Granite City High school productions and acting in general.
“I didn’t expect this much,” he said on landing the lead. “But (Director) Mr. (John) Manoogian is always working with me and it’s made me a lot better.”
Espinoza said he learned a lot about observation and emotion in his acting debut. He also said when the show went down he only wanted to seem realistic in his role as a prince.
Lacey Cook, a four-year veteran of the GCHS stage, played Maleficent, a witch. Since the beginning of her career, Cook landed roles in 15 school productions such as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “Cinderella.”
“I’m both sad and happy,” Cook said. “It’s just exciting. I’ve put a lot of time into this and that’s sad, but I also get to move on with my life.”
The senior plans on attending Lindenwood University as a theater major. Cook said she concentrated on “good timing” and “quality facial expressions” in bringing her character to life.
Senior Jake Hayes — who portrayed the troll Zalasare — also started his theatrical journey four years ago, as he landing roles in many of the same productions.
“He’s the leader of the trolls and he wants to do better for Maleficent,” Hayes said of his character. “And when he fails, he feels like he fails the rest of the trolls.”
Cook said he likes the character because it requires a lot of mobility and allows him to create a spooky atmosphere for the young audience.
“As long as we work together and as long as I get laughs and scares from kids, then I think I’ve done my job,” he said.
“Sleeping Beauty,” based on the fairy tale, was made into a movie by Walt Disney in 1959.