Actor Spotlight: ALENA!

Each one of our actors has had their own journey through our program, and grown and improved in their own way. It's amazing to see their progress from one show to the next, as their skills and confidence grow.

This week's featured actor is one of our favorite "success stories". During her first production, she barely raised her head up. Katie held her hand and shepherded her around the stage from place to place. Sometimes she said her line. Sometimes she didn’t. When she did, it was not much beyond a whisper. Fast-forward just 4 years and this girl’s self confidence has EXPLODED. She commands attention, she takes up space with her voice and her body, and she wants to share. She’s excited to see her friends at rehearsal and for her mom to see her perform.

Her mom says: “ABLE helps Alena exercise her mind and body and is a great extension of Alena’s speech and physical therapy. She has gained so much confidence in herself and made great friends. Seeing her onstage makes me feel so gleeful., excited, proud, and all over inside and out H.A.P.P.Y.”



Jump to 1:03 to see Alena as Beyonce in "Frozen...for Real!"

I am Alena. I am 17 years old and this is my 9th semester with ABLE. You might have seen me in some of my favorite roles: Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and Sassy Beyonce in our movie The Curse of the Tempest Jewel. Three things I enjoy about coming to ABLE are, being with my friends, dancing and having fun, and singing.  Something I have learned from ABLE is to speak up loudly and proudly! My favorite dance party song is “Single Ladies” by my all-time favorite singer, Beyonce.

I am a great dancer, jolly, and sassy. I also know how to play Uno really well! I want to drive a car, go to college, and get a job someday. 

In 2013, our actors wrote their own show entitled Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On. Each actor devised a short scene answering the question, “What would I do if I had magic for one day?” What did Alena want to do? She wanted to become Beyonce. She got out onstage (with bright red lipstick) and sang and danced to a medley of "Single Ladies," "Crazy in Love," and "Halo." After the show, she ran around backstage, completely charged, chanting “BEYONCE! BEYONCE! BEYONCE!” When we created characters for our short film, The Curse of the Tempest Jewel, no surprise, she wanted to be a famous singer – we named her Sassy Beyonce. And, again, in 2015 when our actors collaborated to write stories for What You Will, as we discussed characters, Alena, again wanted to be Beyonce (she wound up playing Beyonce playing Princess Anna in a live-action version of Frozen…very meta!). Beyonce means the world to this girl. Alena channels Beyonce for confidence, and Beyonce has inspired her to become a strong, empowered, take charge performer. 

As fate would have it, Beyonce's Formation Tour just so happens to be stopping in Chicago the same weekend as our very special production of Twelfth Night for Shakespeare 400 Chicago. It's long shot, but we'll save Beyonce and Jay two tickets to see Alena's incredible presence for themselves!

If you want to snag your own tickets, click here to visit Chicago Shakespeare Theater's box office.