Finding his role

Max Monahan finds passion in theater, plays the Doctor in “The Bat”

Freshman Max Monahan practically glides onto the stage, black leather doctor’s bag and unrelenting smirk in tow. From his first entrance, the audience is in the palm of his hand, watching his every move, entranced by his witty humor and commanding stage presence.

Monahan plays the character of the Doctor in the murder mystery play penned by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood, a mischievous and devilish character, longing to get his hands on money hidden in a seemingly haunted Long Island mansion.

Based solely on his performance, it’s difficult to believe that Monahan is a freshman. While it has happened before, it is uncommon for underclassmen to attain lead roles in MN productions.

In order to be cast in the winter or spring play, students must do a cold read- acting out a scene without preparation- and potentially take part in an improvisation portion. During this process, the directors look for creative, adaptable students.

“When we do a cold reading, we pay attention if kids are able to inhabit the character quickly. I also like to see who works well together,” director Michelle Williamson said.

In his elementary years, Monahan took part in classes and performances at the Rose Theatre in Omaha. Because of his experience, Monahan has developed a personal rehearsal technique in order to help him be a successful actor.

Monahan goes to the same spot in his room, a desk next to a window, and reads the lines, putting a voice to the words. After connecting his voice, he then moves to making personal connections.

“I try to think of real life things that can connect me to the character, whether it be things I went through, stories, or even my personality, and that’s how I got the character of the Doctor,” Monahan said.

In order to make this show a success, Monahan  has been depending  on his castmates, as they have been relying on him.

“Max was an awesome performer to start, but it was really cool seeing him- he flourished. I slowly saw the development of his character, and that was really awesome,” senior Adam Lesher said. Lesher plays the lead in the show, Detective Anderson.

When Monahan isn’t rehearsing or performing, he’s a normal freshman, going to school and trying to do his best in his classes. But Monahan knows his future belongs on the stage.

“I’ve truly found what I want to do [in the theatre], not just for my next four years of high school, but for the rest of my life,” Monahan said.