Directorial debut for CSUN theater student 

Natalie Lopez, Reporter

As Jennifer Jara exits the stage following the applause she received for her directorial debut, she feels excited and hopeful for her future in the entertainment industry. She is grateful to the cast and crew who worked tirelessly to bring her vision to the stage.

Jara is a senior at CSUN majoring in screenwriting and minoring in musical theater. Jara has starred in many musical theater productions, but “Miscast” is her first time directing a theater production. She came to discover her passion for the arts when she auditioned for musicals in high school. Already an experienced performer, she took on her first directorial production.

As a cabinet member of the CSUN Theatre Guild, she was allowed to direct her first showcase and received support from her classmates and club members. The CSUN Department of Theatre rarely will enable students to direct their plays and musicals, but the CSUN Theatre Guild allows students to practice and develop their talents, as this club produces plays and showcases that are made for and by students.

“The Theatre Guild cabinet has been amazing by providing me with support, resources and volunteers who would help me put ‘Miscast’ on. Like soundboard operators, stagehands and a stage manager. I would not be able to put on this production without them,” said Jara.

On Nov. 8, CSUN’s Theatre Guild held their “Miscast” showcase, and Jara was tasked with directing a group of 17 performers in five days. “Miscast” is a showcase produced by the CSUN Theatre Guild that allows performers to sing or act in a piece they typically wouldn’t be cast in due to their cast type. “Miscast” allows performers to perform roles and songs that they would not be traditionally cast in, as male performers could be seen acting out a character that was usually written and acted by a female performer.

In directing this show, Jara discovered the many challenges and rewards that running production comes with, as she was in charge of bringing the cast and crew together for a showcase. As a first-time director, Jara found it challenging to say no to her fellow cast or crew members, but through teamwork and determination, she could direct a show that she and her cast are proud of.

“It’s really fun having the ability to make many creative decisions overall because I’ve never had that experience before,” said Jara.

Although it was a very stressful process, Jara worked alongside the cast and crew to create a production highlighting all of CSUN students’ talents.

Jara utilized her education and experience from CSUN and its professors to direct production to provide the audience with a spectacular show. Jara cited her professor, Sonia Norris, as a mentor and role model who has taught her the art of performing and encouraged her to take risks.

“Jennifer Jara is an absolute joy to work with in my acting class — she is a courageous performer willing to leap into the work with fantastic creativity and commitment in her acting choices. She approaches the craft of acting and her willingness to take risks pursuing her creative ideas — all of which will serve her well as a director,” said assistant professor of CSUN’s Department of Theatre Sonia Norris.

Jara is grateful for her learning experience in directing this production and is excited to continue trying many different roles within the theater. Upon graduating from CSUN, Jara aspires to work in TV or theater and hopes to embark on different “paths, so hopefully [she] can do a little bit of everything [she] wants in [her] lifetime.”