Ten roles. Ten personalities. One person.

Kate Rogers, Opinion Writer

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During the school day, she’s an honor roll student. During rehearsal, she can take on any character thrown her way.
Starting her acting career in just second grade, junior Maria Miller has been in a multitude of plays and musicals at Perry Meridian High School. Seven years ago, PMHS put on the musical “Sound of Music,” which requires a child to play the youngest Von Trapp, Gretl. Fortunately, Miller was a willing candidate.
“That was so much fun,” she says. “All of the high-schoolers were so awesome and I got to hang out with them every day. That’s why when I got to middle school, I wanted to do shows. I wanted that group dynamic of theater.”
Arriving at Perry Meridian 6th Grade Academy, Miller was determined to be a part of the theater program. Scoring the lead role of Veruca Salt in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” her determination payed off, encouraging her new-found passion.
“That was definitely my favorite role to play,” Miller says. “It was fun to just yell at everyone.”
“It was weird seeing such a nice person play a mean character so well,” senior Sydney McGaha says.
Since Miller is known as a kind figure, it leaves one to wonder how she played such a harsh character so well.
“Being mean is actually a lot easier than being anything else,” Miller says. “Everybody gets frustrated, making it an emotion that is easy to portray.”
In contrast to her role as Veruca Salt, Miller played Chava in Perry’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. According to Miller, Chava was a much more challenging role than Veruca.
“Chava’s story is very sad, and it was hard to channel those emotions and scream and cry on stage,” says Miller. “Playing Chava really made me more thankful for the good things I have in my personal life.”
Chava is a character that experiences multiple hardships, but she always tries to keep her head up and remains respectful of her family.
“Playing her was a good reminder that yes, I get down in the dumps sometimes, but my struggles are nowhere near as hard as hers. She reminds me to be grateful.”
Miller also played Interplanet Janet in “School House Rock Jr.” during her sophomore year.
Although Miller has played a number of lead roles, she has also played four minor roles in her acting career. She was cast as an elf in Shrek when she was in 7th grade, the little girl in Once on this Island as an 8th grader, a brainiac in High School Musical when she was a freshman, and an inventor in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” as a sophomore.
“While rehearsing for some of my major roles, I had to go off individually to rehearse,” Miller says. “But with minor roles like the elf, I got to do a lot more group work. It was fun to work with other people and learn the songs and dances as a group.”
According to Miller, a lot of people think that if you have a major role, you have a lot to memorize, but with a minor role, you have to memorize not only your part, but your ensembles’ parts, too.
“Playing a Brainiac in High School Musical was fun too,” Miller says That was a role that also required a lot of ensemble/group work,” Maria says.
“Honestly, I’ve loved every cast I’ve been a part of. Theatre is such an important thing to me, and I hope to continue it for as long as I can.”