Freshman makes cut in One Act play, a rare occurrence

Advisers in the fine arts programs at Brainerd High School name a Fine Arts Student of the Week every week. This week it is in theater for its One Act play. Freshman Jayley Andresen was nominated.

Jayley Andresen
Brainerd High School freshman Jayley Andresen sits to talk about her role in One Act play at the south campus. Andresen was named this week's Fine Arts Student of the Week. The theater director stated One Act play is extremely competitive and it is remarkable for a freshman to get in. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch

Jayley Andresen

Grade: Freshman.

Age: 14.

Art focus: Brainerd High School Theater.

Adviser nomination: “The One Act play is extremely competitive because only 20 students can be involved, including the cast and crew, and Jayley Andresen was cast as a freshman, which is remarkable! Jayley played Ann in ‘Juvie,’ and she had a difficult character to portray. Ann is a very spoiled and childish character, which is completely opposite of Jayley’s empathetic and mature personality. I am extraordinarily proud of Jayley’s work ethic and her continued commitment to improve as an actress. I am thrilled that Jayley is only a freshman, and I hope she continues acting in the Brainerd High School Theater program.”


Memorable fine arts achievement: Being cast in the One Act play this year.

Artist most admired: Pablo Picasso.

Other fine arts activities: Plays the flute in band and the trombone in jazz band.

Why did you join theater? I did sports before and it wasn't really my thing. I didn't love all the competition and how aggressive people got about it. I’d been listening to musicals for awhile. No one in my family acted, but I always loved the idea of going up on stage and being someone else. So it was super fun to come to the high school as they have a theater program.

I was backstage for the fall play. Freshmen don’t very often get on stage right away and I just wanted to try it. I just wanted to be a part of the theater community.

Being backstage was a nice way to ease my way into theater. (After the fall play), everyone was talking about the One Act play and I was like I don’t know if I should do it. I was going back and forth and it is very rare for a freshman to get in. People told me to just do it because then you’ll have the memories and a chance to get that audition experience; and don't feel bad if you don't get in, but do it and get out there.

Tell me about One Act auditions. Miss J (what students call Karla Johnson, the theater director) has a packet and there are four monologues and dialogues between people and you go up there and try to make someone cry. You choose between two to three characters and you go up and say your name, grade and what you are reading.

I did the dialogue of Jane, not Ann. Jane is a very emotional person and her parents are super abusive and I was like I want to make someone cry. Miss J put up a cast list the next day because we had to get started right away. Some friends went to check the list and I said, “Please don't tell me because I want to see it for myself.” I went to look at it and they were like, “Haha you got in,'' and I was like thanks. No freshmen got in but me, so they were trying to keep the secret and were excited for me.


Brainerd High School freshman Jayley Andresen in her role as Ann in "Juvie," the school's One Act play. One Act play is done and theater students will be gearing up for the upcoming spring musical. Submitted Photo

Tell me about your role. We had two months to practice and we started right after the fall show and ended a couple weeks ago. The One Act play cannot go over 35 minutes.

Playing Ann was difficult. People told me you need to be more arrogant and mean, but I was like I am too nice for this. That was hard for me because I am not a mean person. But this is what I love about theater is you can be 100 different people but you are still the same person.

Being in One Act was such a surreal experience, because these random people came up to me and said, “Hey, you were in One Act, you did good,” and that was cool. I’ve seen these people (upperclassmen) perform for years ... and now they are standing next to me acting.

What was the play about? “Juvie” is a story of a bunch of kids at a juvenile detention center. Some are in for bigger crimes compared to others, some ran away ... I stole a bunch of clothes. We all were interacting with each other and telling our stories and we are still existing in the same space. There really is no point to the story.

Toughest part of the role? It was difficult to learn all our lines so quickly. Also, not everyone was able to come to the performance/competition, so another girl had to learn a whole different part and I had to interact with her so I had to relearn the chemistry of the scene.

Memorizing the lines is not too bad, executing the lines to fit your character was more difficult for me. Because your interpretation of your character may be different than J’s interpretation of the character, which could be different than what another person’s interpretation is. So it’s up to you on how you want to make your role play out.


Ann wasn't mean per se, she was more arrogant and uptight. I had to do a lot of facial expressions, as I didn’t have a lot of dialogue. I did a lot of snotty looks and bratty actions. One thing I would do is fix my clothes during the performance, like roll my pants and make myself more attractive looking and be very unaware of my surroundings as I’m so focused on myself. Do you plan to stay in theater? I do ... I am auditioning for the spring play “Oklahoma!” It was just revived on Broadway, so it should be a good turnout.

Dream job: To be a journalist. I love the study of people and love how people work. So journalism, psychology or therapy are my big points as people are so interesting to me. Why does someone act one way and another person acts another way is interesting and I love to write.

Favorite movie: “The Little Mermaid.”

Favorite TV show: “Atypical.”

Favorite book: “The Catcher in the Rye.”

Favorite song: “Seasons of Love” from Rent.

Favorite band: The Beatles.

Favorite Shakespeare play: “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”


I’d love to play the character, Puck. The role is primarily for a male, but it can be played by a female.

Favorite subject: English.

Drink of choice: Earl Grey tea.

Biggest pet peeve: I really don't like it when people take their shoes off and walk around with the school.

If you wrote a book what would it be about? I would write something from the Victorian or Renaissance era with a happy ending.

Hobbies: Reading, singing, playing music, writing and acting.

Parents: Renee Andresen of Brainerd and Thomas Andresen of Nisswa.


Brainerd High School freshman Jayley Andresen in her role as Ann in "Juvie," the school's One Act play. One Act play is done and theater students will be gearing up for the upcoming spring musical. Submitted Photo

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