She’d made her choice, you’re good enough! Good enough to hear what Grace Volpe has to say as the penultimate interviewee in the TheatreBloom exclusive series, “A Little More Homework” featuring the performers of Third Wall Productions’ 13: The Musical.
Thanks for sitting with us, Grace! If you’d give us a quick introduction, we can get going.
Grace Volpe: My name’s Grace. I’m playing Patrice. I go Ridgley Middle School and I’m in sixth grade. I’m 12.
Tell us a little bit about Patrice.
Grace: Patrice is really sensitive. She’s really used to being upset and turned away and rejected. She’s very open, like when Evan first comes to town she really wants to get to know him. She really wants them to become friends because he’s brand new, he doesn’t know that she’s an outcast and part of the “not popular” crowd. She gets easily hurt by everyone else and she gets let down all the time. She really thinks this is going to be different, she’s going to make a new friend and it’ll be different this time. And then Evan is all like, “okay, well I’m going to get in with the cool kids and then you can hang out with us and everyone can be cool.” But she knows that they don’t like her and she tries to explain that to him but he doesn’t understand it. He has to make a decision, whether he chooses being cool or whether he chooses to have a real friend. And he makes the wrong decision.
How are you and Patrice similar and how are you and she different?
Grace: I’m not popular at school whatsoever. Like uh-uh, no-no-no, no thank you! That’s not— no, no, nope. That’s not me! I’m more confident, I feel like. I do try to see the best in people the way she does. I guess we’re really just similar.
What is your favorite subject in school?
Grace: Is chorus a subject? Music has kind of been a thing around me for a very long time. My sister does children’s chorus of Maryland and when I was seven I started taking classes at BAT, which is Baltimore Actor’s Theatre, and I did that for two years.
What do you think Patrice’s favorite subject is?
Grace: It’s probably not chorus. I feel like she’s probably more of a Language Arts kind of person. She seems kind of geeky and bookish.
When you’re not in school or doing theatre what do you like to do with your free time?
Grace: I like playing softball. I like to play third base and catcher.
The play talks about bullying. How do you feel about bullying?
Grace: Bullying is a part of everyone’s life at one time or another, especially in middle school. People think since “Oh, I’m not as good as I should be, therefore everyone else should be lower than I am.” And then they think they should take control and that will make them better than everyone else. I think that’s a terrible thing to think because I feel like we’re all on the same level and everyone is different for a reason. I don’t understand why people are so rude to one another. If we were all the same people would be boring. We all have one goal in life and that’s happiness. So I don’t understand why we can’t all help each other and get along.
The play also talks about labels. How do you feel about labels?
Grace: I definitely think they exist. Unfortunately, I wish they didn’t. I think I’m labeled as outgoing at school and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But I’m also known as the person who gets straight A’s. The smart one, and sometimes those labels aren’t kind, even though you would think getting all A’s would be a good thing. I don’t like labels, but they definitely exist. Oh, I shouldn’t say all A’s, I’m not doing so hot in math— I’m not good in math, let’s be honest here. But it’s the beginning of the quarter, and I’ll fix it.
What is your favorite song in the show?
Grace: That I’m in? “What it Means to Be a Friend.” It happens right after Evan rips up Patrice’s invitation to his Bar Mitzvah in front of the whole school. Archie is saying, “Come on, give him another chance,” but he’s only saying that because Archie is going to get a date with one of the popular girls because of Evan. Patrice is like, “No, no, no. He’s done, I’m alone. I’m done with him.” She goes through this all the time. She’s lost all faith in humanity. I’m not going to say grieving, but she’s sulking almost. She’s kind of trying to explain that Evan does not have what it takes to be a good friend to her. And she’s saying that she has to push him aside, which won’t be easy, but that it’s going to happen that way. I like how the song is slow and mostly head voice. I don’t have to belt and I can easily connect to it on an emotional level. A lot of people can relate to it. They listen to it and they identify with it.
What’s your favorite part of the show?
Grace: The movie theatre scene. It might have a little bit to do with the fact that there’s a kiss in there. I’m not going to say that’s everything, you know, but that’s definitely got a little bit to do with it.
What has being a part of this show taught you about yourself?
Grace: This show has kind of taught me that we’re all different and that we all have to accept each other no matter what. You have to push aside the labels and really get to know someone before you get to judge them.
What has been the most challenging part of doing this show?
Grace: I know this sounds really stupid and awful, but the kiss. I have to kiss Evan. This is my first kiss. I’m nervous! But it’ll be fine. Right?
What is it you are hoping people will learn from seeing this show?
Grace: I really hope that people will learn to accept each other. I know I’ve said that so many times, but I really just want people to do that. Especially like in the last song, “A Little More Homework to Do” it’s a metaphor for everything we still need to learn in life. Before we label people because they’re not pretty or popular, we need to look inside them rather than what’s on the outside. “A Little More Homework” reminds us of that, “come on, guys, read more into this.”
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Grace: An actress.
Why do you want people to come and see the show?
Grace: I want people to learn that lesson. I want them to hear the amazing voices of our cast. I want the adults to come and remember these things happening from their childhood, and I want them to remember that they were like this character or that character and remember what that was like.
13: The Musical opens on May 13, 2016 and plays through May 22, 2016 with Third Wall Productions at the Episcopal Church of the Messiah— 5801 Hartford Road in Baltimore’s Hamilton neighborhood. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 443-838-4064 or purchasing them online.
To read Part 1 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Taylor Casalena, click here.
To read Part 2 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Jake Clark, click here.
To read Part 3 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Andi Rudai, click here.
To read Part 4 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Morgan Hewitt, click here.
To read Part 5 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Margaret Hamilton, click here.
To read Part 6 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Christopher Owens, click here.
To read Part 7 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Carly Victor, click here.
To read Part 8 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Ma’issa Wright-Kerr, click here.
To read Part 9 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Aidan Slowey, click here.
To read Part 10 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Maren Wright-Kerr, click here.
To read Part 11 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Anike Sonuga, click here.
To read Part 12 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Anastasia Johns, click here.
To read Part 13 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Jack Schwartz, click here.
To read Part 14 of “A Little More Homework” featuring Jaylen Fontaine, click here.