COLLINS — If you watched Kelsey Telquist at work Wednesday during a dress rehearsal for "Guys and Dolls," you wouldn't think she was a theater novice.
The Western Reserve High School sophomore sat in a chair off-stage, usually reserved for the most experienced director, wearing a headset and following along with a script.
Telquist is the student director for Western Reserve's spring production of "Guys and Dolls," a musical about Times Square's characters and its feverish atmosphere. Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday.
Telquist has never performed on-stage or had any role in a theatrical production prior to “Guys and Dolls.” Then again, experience can come in many forms.
The teenager had watched her older sister, Keely, perform during her years at Western Reserve. Telquist said she felt she learned a lot about performing and how a production needs to flow from watching her older sibling on-stage.
Keely graduated from Western Reserve in 2006, and is currently a sophomore at Mt. Vernon College. Telquist saw her older sister play a mission doll in the school’s production of “Guys and Dolls.”
She’s also asked Keely for advice related to directing the musical and painting the scenery. In addition to directing, the younger Telquist painted the set, which includes a New York City scene comprised of buildings and windows made from aluminum cut-outs.
Telquist said directing has been a valuable learning experience.
“I think it’s helping me become more of a leader,” she said.
But if Telquist would have wagered she’d have a perfectly smooth experience, she would have lost her bet. She is, after all, directing her older brother Thayne, who plays gambler Harry the Horse.
“He’s the only one (who’s) really giving me lip,” Telquist said, referring to her brother.
But, she has not backed down from instructing all cast members — including her sibling.
“He’s older than me so it’s kind of fun bossing him around a little bit,” Telquist said.
Said Thayne: “She bosses me around the house anyway.”
Thayne did compliment his sister on her job as student director.
So did the show’s director, Kimberly Harrison.
She is doing a phenomenal job” said Harrison, Western Reserve’s choir director. “She’s doing a good job of keeping the kids moving forward.”
The cast has been rehearsing since early February, often practicing for five hours each day.