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    Freaky Friday: A Senior Project

    Lee Suggs
    Cast of Freaky Friday during the laboratory scene looking at a frog during a dissection.

    Senior projects are underway and Cierra Bettencourt has been hard at work completing her production of Freaky Friday: The Musical. Every year MYACT, (Mountain Youth and Community Theatre) a performing arts studio in Sonora, puts on a spring play and this year Bettencourt volunteered to take matters into her own hands. She has been the lead director for the play over the past few weeks and her work is paying off.

    When asked about what her senior project overall was she responded, “It is technically a fundraiser and then I am putting on Freaky Friday with the fundraiser attached to it for the intellectually and physically disabled community and we will be starting a new program for them to come learn about theater and learn new social skills.”

    Janae Perkins, Bettencourt’s mentor, has been a big help to her throughout the whole process Bettencourt explained.

    Cierra Bettencourt with mentor Janae Perkins posing for a photo on MYACT’s stage for Freaky Friday. (Lee Suggs)

    “She has been going to MYACT since she was 10, and we have been co-choreographing, co-directing and she has helped me organize all of the fundraiser details.”

    The board of directors had already chosen the idea for the spring time play and Cierra was very interested in doing it.

    Perkins was the perfect mentor for the project as she explained, “I already do plays and when I was a senior here in 2014 I did the same thing for my senior project.”

    Many people from the community came together for the project. Bettencourt had many students from Summerville High participate in the play as well as students and adults who work with MYACT.

    Kyla Hatler, the drama teacher for Summerville, as well as founder of MYACT, participated in the play herself.

    “I founded Mountain Youth and Community Theatre 20 years ago. Cierra has been one of my students there since she was young.”

    Ayla Watson and Sophie Fitzwater, 7th graders at Summerville/Connections both took part in the play.

    Watson acted in an ensemble and when asked about practice times she responded, “We started off practicing at least 3 days a week and then getting closer to the play we all practiced every day.”

    Watson explained, “I worked with the tech crew and I work with MYACT so I basically got a text asking if I wanted to take part, and I said yes.”

    As some took part in being involved in the play, many took part in watching it. Connections were able to take a field trip down to MYACT getting to watch the play during school.

    8th grader, Grace Richardson, said her favorite part of the play was when, “There was a zipline that they came down in the middle and they all started dancing off from the zipline, so that was pretty cool.”

    Jagger Macklin, another 8th grader, commented, “I thought it was really good and I could tell the actors put in a lot of effort.”

    His favorite part of the show was, “The actors came up next to us and they all danced in front of us. I think that overall gave a better experience of the whole thing.”

    The show had put on a total of ten showings, eight being shown to the public and two student matinees. 

    Bettencourt stated, “They have been a really big success. We had one full house and the rest have been really close to being full houses. We have made a lot of money on the fundraiser which is amazing.”

    Overall, Bettencourt’s project did well raising over $3,000 and exceeding her goal profit. Giving a better theater experience to the people of Tuolumne County. 


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