Campus News

REACH student lands lead role in ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’

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Wesley Lantz, a homeschooled student taking classes at Bethel College through the REACH program, landed a lead role in Bethel’s production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” I talked with Lantz about his experience in the production. “It was definitely more than I’m used to,” said Lantz. “He [Clarence Gilyard] is the most intense director I’ve ever worked with. I’ve only worked with three directors, but he’s definitely the most intense—in a good way.”
Janelle Rundquist as Edith Frank with Reach Student Wesley Lantz as Peter Van Daan, in a scene when he firsts moves into the Annex with the Frank family
Janelle Rundquist as Edith Frank with Reach Student Wesley Lantz as Peter Van Daan, in a scene when he firsts moves into the Annex with the Frank family
Lantz became involved in drama at age 8 through his church, but began pursuing drama more actively three years ago through the Michiana Homeschool Drama Group (MHDG). “We went down and filled out an information sheet,” said Lantz. “We had to prepare two monologues, one classical and one contemporary, and a 16-bar song. It was interesting because he worked with me as if it were an actual performance. I didn’t even get to my song.” Lantz was called back for the roles of Peter and Mr. Kraler. He said that callbacks consisted of cold readings. Lantz was cast as Peter van Daan. “There were different types of rehearsals: readings and off-book,” Lantz said. “The off-book rehearsals were when the real work started. Professor Guilyard told us to ‘let the text tell your body what to do.’ “ After five weeks of intense rehearsal, the play opened on Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. For Lantz, it was like a rite of passage. “So far, the most important thing I’ve learned is that acting is not about getting up on stage and reciting lines,” said Lantz. “It’s portraying real life. I would say the most important thing I’ve learned so far is getting out of rote rehearsal mode.” Lantz also talked about the closeness of the cast. “When you spend five hours a night with people for a whole month, you definitely get to know them,” Lantz said. “The whole cast is like one big family. We all have quirks, but you do get to love the people, and I am definitely going to miss everyone once this is over, but I’m so glad I got to be a part of this.”
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