The velvet curtains open, revealing an audience that spans the large theater. The heat of the blinding stage lights beat down onto your face as you stand center stage. A wave of applause and standing ovation rises in volume as you lower your head to take a bow.
Many crave 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 becoming a reality. Mack is involved in both the Performing Arts and Choral departments at Wellesley High, and hopes to follow her passions both on and off the stage after she graduates.
Mack began singing and acting in fourth grade when her parents signed her up for a kid’s theatre group called “Miss Cindy’s Theatre Company’s Cabarets.” Since then, Mack has been passionate about creating meaningful productions with compelling stories. Throughout her time in middle school, she participated in drama and chorus. At the high school, Mack has “been in every show at the high school that [she] possibly could be.” Mack is also an involved member of the Choral Department at the high school. She sings with Concert Choir, Song Sisters, and the Keynotes Singers select ensemble. `
“I have been involved all four years in the Performing Arts Department. I stay involved because I love it! I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else to fill up time. All of my friends participate in performing arts and it is just the best community,” said Mack, “I’ve also created such strong bonds with all of my teachers—especially the drama director, Ms. Sullivan.”
Mack is an excellent and hilarious actor—her skills on stage have warranted praise and many awards throughout her time in middle and high school. In addition to her on-stage presence, Mack’s role as a writer and producer on shows is impressive. Her sophomore year One-Act, Weird, won an acting award, and her freshman year One-Act, I Do You Die, placed third in a competition.
Kara Sullivan, the drama teacher at WHS, has been a guiding figure for Mack over the years. Mack first got to know Sullivan in sixth grade when she was the middle school drama teacher. Coincidentally, they both transitioned to the high school the same year.
“As my grade has grown throughout our time with Ms. Sullivan as our teacher, we have also seen her grow immensely. She is confident, powerful, and hilarious—and I wouldn’t have wanted any other teacher by my side these past seven years. She’s honestly a big part of the reason I am pursuing theatre in college,” said Mack.
Sullivan and Mack have worked together on many productions, student-directed projects, and written works, including the New Works revival for Acting 3. Sullivan commends Mack’s skill for leadership.
“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 always tried to be better and better and better,” said Sullivan.
Looking to the future
When Mack looks to the future, she imagines herself participating in theatre in any way she can.
“[I’m] definitely looking forward to opportunities in different locations,” said Mack, “I love New York City, obviously a theater hub. So living in different places and experiencing the theater scenes, in cities especially wherever I end up, I’m really looking forward to a broader spectrum of actors, singers, and artists.”
In addition to acting, Mack’s supporters hope that she continues writing and directing after high school.
“Everyone knows Caroline as an actress, but I think she should also try directing. She incorporates feminism into everything in the best way possible, and truly brings so many great ideas to anything she works on—I think she should stick with it,” said Lucy Calcio `22, Mack’s friend and a fellow thespian.
Mack has a passion for writing and poetry. Her favorite subject in school is English, though she is not always confident in sharing her writing.
“[It’s] funny because you’d think someone who goes on stage and stuff shouldn’t be afraid of stuff like that, but I’m so afraid of criticism in my writing, maybe because I care about it so much,” said Mack.
The past two years have made live performances very difficult for the drama and choral departments, so for Mack the return to normalcy means more than just taking off her mask. The performing arts are about community, for Mack and for the people that participate in the department alongside her.
“My favorite thing about being part of singing and acting at school is probably the community, which sounds cheesy. I think everybody has found their own places at the high school, whether you’re into art or sports or whatever. I don’t know where else I’d be if I wasn’t acting and singing.”
Mack was able to perform in the widely-enjoyed a cappella performances: Acatober, this past October, and Acastock in March. Most recently, she performed in the school musical, Mamma Mia!, one of the first mask-less performances in a few years.
“It can be easy to forget why we perform until we actually get to do so. 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,” said Mack. “So I guess what I’ve learned is to appreciate every moment we get. We are so lucky to live in a town that allows us so many performance opportunities and we might never have this freedom and abundance of shows ever again,” said Mack.
Next fall, Mack will attend Marymount Manhattan College where she intends to pursue a BA in Theater Arts, with a minor in Gender and Sexuality studies.
Article written by WHS Bradford staff: Clementine Zei `24, Special Projects News Editor, and Annabelle Nolan `23, Assistant Features Editor.