Student makes directing debut


Enjoli Drake will make her directing debut as she presents “In the Red and Brown Water” as this year’s student directed fall production. The Shield spoke with Drake to learn more about her first experience directing and the production.

The Shield: How did the opportunity to direct a play come about for you this year?

Drake: Well I’ve been a theater student for about four years now, my department has always been about us making our own opportunities. I felt like this was my time as a senior to take over the reigns, instead of just being an actor.

The Shield: What made you choose this production?

Drake: I heard of the play at a theater competition. I really liked the monologue that was presented. It also has a lot of opportunity to use multiple students.

The Shield: Was there anything about the play’s content that stood out to you?

Drake: The play deals with some of African urban culture. I’d been interested in that since I started reading the Drama High book series in high school. After I figured ‘there has to be a reason I read that book series, and this play.’ It’s a sign to me that this play is going to mean something to other people as well as myself.

The Shield: Did you have people in mind for the parts or did students audition?

Drake: We had to have auditions, there wasn’t necessarily an inkling as to who would play the parts. I made sure students auditioning maybe read another work of the playwright or  watched a production of the play. As rehearsals started it became more in-depth and everyone wanted to know more about the play. There was a thirst for knowledge.

The Shield: Have there been any bumps in the road for the production yet?

Drake: It’s been a smooth process, we’ve been rehearsing for about two months. It’s been great we’ve had such a long opportunity. The students are so into it and are so thirsty to know more. I never want to say ‘stop asking questions.’ And they all ask,  ‘how can I know more, how can I learn more.”

The Shield: What’s it like to go from actress to director?

Drake: It’s definitely extremely different to be on the opposite side of the table. It’s definitely a collaborative process. It was so healthy for me to step out of the actor role. I feel like when I go back into acting I will know the process even better.

The Shield: Do you see yourself directing as a career after graduation?

Drake: I feel like I need to be in all aspects, but if I were to have my choice I would 100 percent want to be an actor for the rest of my life.

The Shield: When did you start acting?

Drake: Acting wasn’t always in the plans. I used to think I would go into medicine.

I joined show choir in high school and people questioned why I wasn’t in theater. You kind of get bit by the bug. I did a lot of high school and community productions. When it came time to go to college I thought ‘I don’t know if I can give up theater.’ This is what makes me happy.

The Shield: Have you ever second guessed your decision to pursue theater?

Drake: I feel like that’s kind of part of the acting process, you get down when you go through a period without being cast as often. It’s part of being an artist, you’re always second guessing things sometimes. It just kind of happens that way. You just have to ignore that, ignore your own doubt.

Responses are adjusted for length and clarity.