Follow the leader

Freshman Victoria Renguso is a lead in the Carmel fall play Up the Down Staircase in November.


Allyson Smoczynski, Reporter

Popular, perfect, and pristine. Those are the words to describe Rachel Gordon, a lead character in the fall play, Up the Down Staircase. She is played by not an experienced upperclassman, but by a freshman, Victoria Renguso.

Renguso has been acting since sixth grade and has been a number of different musicals. She doesn’t remember the reason why she started acting but remembers just wanting to give it a try.

Some of the roles that she has played in the past include Sarafina in The Lion King and Lily St. Regis in the musical Annie. She said has never been in a play where there are no singing and dancing parts.

“I’m not the best dancer, and I am okay at singing,” said Renguso. “I’m excited to play a part that doesn’t require that.”

Renguso auditioned with one of the eight monologues picked out by Director of Theatre Denise Sebastiano. Renguso was one of the many freshman who auditioned.

“Auditions are held after Labor Day, and I get a panel of judges that always includes someone from outside Carmel so that they are fair,” Sebastiano said. “Every year, I am excited to see amazing talents in the freshman class. I am sure Victoria did great, as she made the show.”

Renguso is one of only five freshmen to be cast in the play. Her role is a student who is the mean and popular girl of the class.

“I find it easier to play a mean girl,” Renguso said, “because it’s not me, it’s a character. People are judging her, not me.”

Up the Down Staircase is set in the 1980s and revolves around a new teacher and her students. It portrays the concerns and struggles of the new teacher who believes she is not getting to her students.

“Each student has their own story, just like in real life, and there are some funny and serious moments,” Sebastiano said.

This play is the first one in 15 years of Carmel productions to be considered for adjudication, or judging by judges from around the state. The cast and crew are hoping to get adjudicated for the Allstate Theatrefest, a non-competitive theater festival made up of high school students, teachers, and even college representatives.

Each school performs their play in front of about 5000 people. It is held in January every year at either the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign or Illinois State University.

“I’m excited about the play,” Renguso said. “Public speaking is sort of nerve racking for me, but when I’m in a play I’m not me, I’m my character.”