Our last feature on the POE cast is an interview with Tela Espelage. Tela is rejoining MMT as a high school student after last taking classes with us in elementary school! We are happy to have her back. She has been an important member of this cast and our Music Theatre Conservatory this fall.
MMT: How old are you, Tela?
MMT: And, what school do you attend?
Tela: William Byrd High School
MMT: Which means you live in…
Tela: Vinton, VA
MMT: So, do you have a favorite poem or story in the show?
Tela: “The Raven” and “Pit and Pendulum” are my favorite pieces. “The Raven” was one of the first poems I had ever read and it was my moms favorite, too. It also has so many meanings and symbolism and is a really beautiful peace. “Pit and Pendulum” was a creative challenge and it really broke down my walls. I had never acted in a way of life and death situation. I loved getting to know my character and working with it.
MMT: Yes! It’s been really great to see you wrestle with that piece and grow as an actor working on it. So, you’ve rejoined MMT after awhile, right?
Tela: I did a couple of classes when I was in kindergarten, and am now coming back. This is my first year working with MMT again.
MMT: Did you know much about Poe before starting rehearsals?
Tela: I did know about Poe. Poe is a family favorite author and when we found out I was cast we were extremely excited.
MMT: That’s awesome! Have you learned anything new working on the show?
Tela: One thing I learned was in his piece, “Alone,” how he had felt that way often. It was insightful which and different from his usual scary side.
MMT: I love that perspective. Do you have a favorite word from the show?
Tela: My favorite word is endeavor.
MMT: Which means?
Tela: to exert oneself, to make effort.
That feels like a great way to close this series and show! We are so proud of the way all these students have endeavored to bring these poems and stories to life. You’ve got two more shots to catch the show: Saturday at 1 & 3 PM. We hope to see you there!