Tall, loud, and self-described as “pretty crazy all the time,” freshman Megan Collins leads a busy life not only with school activities, but also in the theater world. After performing in five shows at Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins, Collins has had no problem morphing into a jungle creature for BSM’s spring musical,Seussical . A former figure skater, Collins had to quit because of the time commitment, but “I figured out that my favorite thing about it was performing for people and I can still do that–just not with skates on,” said Collins.
This summer, Collins is preparing to perform in two shows at the Fringe Festival, a celebrated event in downtown Minneapolis that recognizes the art of theater. One show is an extension of her acting conservatory class at Stages, of which she is the youngest member. “We create the show ourselves. So far it’s about a group of kids right before the apocalypse,” said Collins, “There’s a lot of crazy ideas going around. I’m the youngest person in the show, so I get all the random baby parts–like I might be tied to a car the whole time.”
The other production was written by two fellow Stages performers and is titled “Audish,” an abbreviation of “audition.” Collins plays an eager girl wracked with nerves about to audition for a show. “I have a spaz attack in the show. It’s a good time,” said Collins. Although her character can’t handle the pressure of a try-out, Collins herself has mastered that aspect of thespian life and isn’t fazed by the auditions and callbacks required for each show. “Once I even got a bloody nose during the callbacks for Harriet and Walt [at Stages]. I remember having the choreographer of the show, who I didn’t know, and the stage manager of the show, who I also didn’t know, try to shove Kleenex up my nose in the bathroom while trying to teach me the ballet combination,” said Collins. Despite a stressful audition, Collins snagged the lead as an eighth grader.
In addition to the shows for the Fringe Festival, Collins will take the stage in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Stages this summer and also recently found out she will start rehearsals for her first show at Children’s Theatre Company, Madeline and the Gypsies, in which she is one of twelve orphan girls. “I’m kind of scared because I have to miss 24 days of school next year for it, but I’m really excited,” said Collins.
Her first role at Stages was Piglet in Winnie the Pooh, and she then proceeded to appear in Seussical as a who kid, Honk, Harriet and Walt, and most recently, School House Rock this fall, along with juniors Sarah Crawford, Zach Mahler, and Amy Stockhaus, all of whom joined Collins in BSM’s production of Seussical this month. “I think the main difference [between school productions and other shows] is that while both are really good, school shows are more relaxed,” said Collins. “It’s just a different setting. BSM puts on a good show and it’s definitely fun to be with all my school friends.”
Of her friends, Collins thinks of herself as the most comfortable being outgoing and loud, and that’s fine with her. “It’s almost easier to be crazy and have people secretly want to be as crazy rather than standing around waiting for some boy to ask you out–story of my life right there,” said Collins. “I’m also kind of an awkward person. I’m really awkward and klutzy, period. I think I’ve had a really big fall in every show I’ve been in, but not for Seussical, not yet,” said Collins.
With her ample experience in theater so early in high school, Collins looks forward to future plays at BSM and elsewhere and hopes to continue through college. “When I was little, I always wanted to be a princess, but I guess I gave that up. But of course it would be fun to be an actress or do something in music,” said Collins.