Creativity in the Spotlight:
By Isabel Sim (9)
Prometheus Bound: 2020. Le Petit Prince. Transfiguration. Parallels. Dichotomies. Behind the scenes of these online productions this year, Abby Lane (9) has meticulously designed and taught makeup for these stunning characters, bringing them to life through the bold markings and blends of color she helps the actors to apply across their faces. Throughout the year’s online Zoom productions, Lane has brought joy and creativity to the school’s performing arts community.
Lane’s interest in the performing arts began five years ago in the Chino Community Children’s Theatre, where she witnessed her friend performing in the holiday production, Coney Island Christmas. The liveliness and energy of the story immediately drew her in, and for her, seeing the enthusiasm of the young actors bring the story to life on stage made her realize her own potential in taking part in narratives such as these.
“I [had] never really seen a theatre show before, and I was just so amazed by the acting and singing,” Lane recalled. “I was so shocked to see people my age up on the stage, and I thought, ‘Hey, maybe I can do that too.’”
A few weeks later, Lane signed up for an audition class, where she auditioned for her first show, Little Mermaid, as a sailor. Since then, she has moved on to take part in numerous shows within the Chino Community Children’s Theatre, as a singer, dancer, actor, and backstage crew member, as well as costume designer and creative makeup lead, including for James and the Giant Peach, Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, Anne of Green Gables, Our Town, Lion King, and The Outsiders.
In the spring of 2019, she won an Inland Theatre League Award for her outstanding performance as the Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical. In addition, she has won a collection of nine Burney awards over the years, an accomplishment that has pushed her to grow, both through the depths at which she performs and the enjoyment she receives from each performance.
“I’ve always loved performing, especially that live aspect of feeling everyone’s energy when you’re performing,” Lane stated. “When I’m on stage, there’s nothing else in the world besides performing. Everything just slips from your mind and you’re ‘in-it’.”
What makes theatre so captivating to Lane is the storytelling aspect of it all -- the sounds, lights, costumes, makeup, music, singing, dancing, and acting elements of theatre all contribute to telling a multi-layered story to touch the hearts of audiences.
“I love being able to portray stories through art,” Lane said. “In theatre, you’re allowed to express emotions you wouldn’t necessarily be able to express in your daily life. The biggest things I’d say [I appreciate about theatre] is self-expression and being able to tell stories and affect people’s lives through art.”
In addition to enjoying expressing herself through the diverse characters she portrays, Lane also values the social connections she is able to make through the different types of people she encounters. Throughout the work that goes into each performance, Lane has felt herself grow closer to her fellow performers and feels herself enjoying performing alongside her closest friends.
“I love talking to people, I love interacting with people, and [I love] sharing each other’s stories. One thing that I like about myself is I’m willing to go up and talk to another person I’ve never met before and make a connection with someone. I think that ties into theatre a lot [because] you have to put yourself out there and try new things … My theatre family has become such a big part of my life, and we’ve become so close,” Lane said. “Being able to perform with some of your best friends is the most amazing feeling in the world.”
Fellow performer Gabriella Torres (10), who met Lane as an eighth grader in Canyon Hills Jr. High, has worked with her during the Ayala Theatre’s mainstage productions. Throughout the theatrical shows they have done together, Torres recognizes Lane’s extroverted personality and her ability to make others feel comfortable.
“From the first time I met her in Canyon Hills, she was and always has been so outgoing, sociable, and optimistic,” Gabriella stated. “She never fails to make the people around her happy. In Ayala Theatre Company, she always strives to make others included while establishing a safe environment where everyone can express themselves. Because she’s one of our creative makeup leads in theatre, she has also been so helpful and supportive!”
Torres also appreciates Lane’s willingness to pass down her knowledge to others and the effort she makes to ensure everyone feels prepared for the show.
“Not only does she work hard in fulfilling her responsibilities, but she also goes out of her way to make sure I get all the help I need,” Torres stated. “When we were preparing and rehearsing for Prometheus Bound: 2020, she and I would get on calls so I can learn how to do my makeup for my character. I’m really grateful for what she has done for the company as well as myself, and I can’t wait to see what she will accomplish in the future.”
Torres is not alone in recognizing Lane’s strong drive for success and the work she is willing to contribute to make others feel included. Close friend Sydney Reyes (11), who has worked with Lane in the Ayala Theatre as well as in the Chino Community Children’s Theatre performing arts troupe Superstars, notes Lane’s versatility in the performing arts, as well as her strong leadership qualities when it comes to working with others.
“Abby is a quintuple threat. Not only can she sing, dance, design and apply makeup wonderfully, her acting skills and the depth at which she performs is so vital to the theatre community,” Reyes stated. “Abby leads the way for others and is a pillar in the theatre community. She is a tremendous hard worker as well as a performer and makeup artist. Abby’s a rockstar!”
When Lane performs, she not only pays attention to the lines of the dialogue and the placement of the set and characters, but also the dynamics of the story and the insights it imparts. By exploring the deeper meaning of these stories, Lane feels as if she truly understands the characters she portrays and the emotions they are undergoing. In addition, she also gains new knowledge about the world she lives in and her own role in society.
“Theatre has helped me find out a lot of things about myself. Through each show that you do and each performance that you do, you learn lessons from the story,” Lane said. “I’ve learned a lot of life lessons, not only through the story, but [also] through all the people I’ve encountered.”
She continues to find joy in expressing herself while living during these uncertain times, whether it’s through designing makeup for a show, sharing a Broadway musical soundtrack with a friend, or simply taking the time to celebrate each other’s accomplishments during a hard-earned break.
When she’s not singing, dancing, or designing makeup for the next show, she enjoys creating digital design illustrations for her friends and family or going to the park for an afternoon picnic. At the end of the day, Abby hopes to inspire the next generation of performers and advocate on how young children can get involved in theatre, just as she did at the Chino Community Children’s Theatre nearly five years ago.