written and photographed by Leslie Ravencroft, Class of 2019
Imagine this: Young Adrian VanStee, just 8 years old, sitting in his room and writing screenplays made up from his wild imagination. His best friend, Grant Mackenzie, who is now a junior at Timothy, started writing a movie about Batman when he was only 6 years old. After two years of writing and rewriting, Grant and Adrian were ready to begin production. Adrian starred as Batman. After creating costumes and sets, the 9 and 10-year-old crew were ready to start filming.
Adrian strapped on his junior sized, homemade Batman costume and stood on top of Grant’s roof ready for his big stunt scene. Looking down on the pile of mattresses, Adrian worked up every ounce of courage a 10-year-old could. Attempt after attempt, Adrian struggled to jump down from the roof. Eventually, knowing his crew was counting on him, he leapt off the roof and bounced onto the cushions of mattresses.
It took two years to film the movie and another year to edit. Finally, at ages 11 and 12, the two had a premier at their church for the 45 minute film. “The editing and cinematography wasn’t top notch,” Adrian laughs, “but how well can 9 and 10-year-olds produce?”
Growing up, Adrian pursued acting any chance he could get. At a young age, Adrian discovered his love of theater and asked his parents to enroll him in acting classes at Western Springs Theater.
“At first I didn’t know if I even had any skills in acting or singing!” says Adrian. Very soon, he was cast in their Christmas show and was one of the leading roles. Immediately, Adrian fell in love with everything on stage and even did all he could behind stage.
Adrian worked behind the stage on lights and sound crew and even was the magic consultant for a production. Adrian made his debut on the Timothy stage in 7th grade in Who’s Dying to Be a Millionaire? Today, Adrian has performed in 10 to 15 shows and worked behind stage in 20 to 30. “I’ve lost count!” he says. Last year, Adrian starred as Captain von Trapp in Timothy’s production of The Sound of Music. In the future, Adrian hopes to continue acting after high school and remain involved in theater.
Over the years, performing has not always been glamorous. Occasionally he’s forgotten lines, spilled water, and even bled on stage. Adrian got sick on stage during a seventh grade performance. In between shows Adrian made the naive decision to eat half of a pizza. Halfway through the show, disaster struck and the pizza made its revenge.
Despite the occasional hiccups in performances, Adrian found his love for acting. “The feeling of being on stage is one that can’t be matched because you know that you’re giving the audience something special each time. Because theater is live, no two shows are ever the same and that makes performance after performance exciting,” he says.
Adrian is now a senior and will perform in his last Timothy Christian fall play. Adrian will be the lead in Scapino! showing November 15th through 17th. Tickets are now on sale at the Timothy Christian website.