SMAC Wraps Up The Year With Spring Showcase


Matisse Arnone

Performers take the stage in the first ever SMAC Showcase. Student leaders hope to turn the event into an annual tradition.

Matisse Arnone, Reporter

When Jared Moninger ‘23 first had the idea to put on the musical Falsettos, he wasn’t completely sure what it would look like. It had been a dream of Moninger’s since he was young, but they were not positive how the dream would come into reality until after helping start the new City High club SMAC(short for Student Managed Acting and Crew). The club provided Moninger the opportunity to fulfill the idea that he had imagined for so long under the lights of the Opstad auditorium.

“Falsettos was going to be just a personal project that I wanted to do,” Moninger said. “It’s been something I’ve wanted to do since I was like 12, and I was hoping for it to be like a summer production and 2023 but my plans fell through for that because we couldn’t get the funding that we needed.”

SMAC was a club started this year in collaboration with several other theater students and their club sponsor Lauren Darby. Moninger says that they were inspired by West and Liberty’s student-led theater groups SLAP and SPIT. In the beginning, they weren’t quite sure what the club would look like, they just knew the goal of getting more students involved in theater.

“What do we want SMAC to look like? How are our leadership roles going to play into what SMAC is? Are we going to have weekly meetings are we going to have workshops? Is it just going to be presentations, or is it going to be games? We just had meetings over the summer and what we kind of decided was it’s going to be all of those every week,” Moninger said.

As a club, they have done a variety of workshops and activities throughout the course of the year led by different club leaders including Jared for musical performance, Whit Jury for Acting, Avery Provorse for dance, and Lulu Roarick for tech. Ethan Hill ‘24 joined the club this year and says it has helped him improve greatly in his performance abilities.

“I kind of heard about it through my theater connections, and I also had several friends involved in it. I’ve definitely been able to learn some new acting techniques as well as some new singing things for the SMAC showcase as well as sort of strengthening friendships and making new ones,” Hill said.

Moninger says that the club has not faced a ton of challenges to get going once they got their club sponsor which he is thankful for. One thing that has been difficult is the issue of a lack of regular participation.

“At our first meeting, we had a lot of people come but then numbers just dropped drastically right away, so it was kind of hard to just get the word out about SMAC,” Moninger said. “I know there’s a lot of people who want to be in theater but they just don’t know how to go about it, and I’d say SMAC is a good place to start.”

The goal of the showcase was to show off the talent within City High and to put to use all of the skills that club members learned throughout the course of the year. In addition to Moninger’s musical Falsettos, theater students Anna Mattson and Rigby Templeman also directed short one-act plays as well. They tried casting a variety of grades within the different productions to fit into the goal of showcasing all of the young talent that is out there, and in line with that, Moninger also focused on making his directing a collaborative process. 

“I really took feedback into account, so it wasn’t just me telling [the actors] what to do all the time. That’s the directing style I want to keep developing as I hopefully direct more shows in the future. I really want to involve my actors in every decision,” Moninger said. 

Hill was in Falsettos and hopes to continue to build off the success of the showcase from this year and turn it into an annual event as a SMAC leader next year.

“It was extremely exciting, but it was really scary because it was such a difficult show to put on and a very difficult role to play. The music is very challenging, and it’s a difficult topic to cover, but I think overall it was extremely enjoyable,” Hill said “I think we put on a pretty good show, and I was really satisfied with the crowd we had too.”

Looking forward to next year, Moninger hopes that the next round of SMAC leaders can continue to prioritize the by students for students philosophy that the club was based on and advertise all of the things that they do to make SMAC and place where truly anyone could get involved.

“It’s for everyone who maybe thought about doing theater but never really got the chance to, for example, you could be like a track runner and never thought anything about theater ever. I want you to come to SMAC so you can learn about how theater works, maybe because maybe it’s an art form you never really thought about or appreciated much.

He can’t wait to see where the future of the club will go but Moninger knows it will be bright for years to come because of all of the hard work and dedication he has already observed in younger club members this year.

“I’m just really proud of all the actors from the showcase they’ve been really amazing to work with. We’ve had our ups and downs, but I think ultimately, this is a really fun and special thing,” Moninger said.