Freshman Jonathan Mossner discovered a spice of life in his theatre experiences


Jonathan throws a pie at a fellow actor. Credit: 2019 Forest Hills Central Middle School Yearbook

Freshman Jonathan Mossner doesn’t like to be in the spotlight, but the character he’s playing does.

Attention isn’t what Jonathan is looking for in theatre. Instead, he wants to assume a different personality and jump into a different pair of shoes.

“I like expressing myself in front of people and not getting judged,” Jonathan said. “That’s really [why] I do it.”

Jonathan has been taking part in small local plays since he was in fifth grade. From playing Romeo to an ordinary schoolboy, Jonathan has assumed the many types of roles that theatre has to offer.

Surprisingly, Jonathan’s success isn’t necessarily due to a large amount of experience. Outside of the middle school plays, Jonathan has only taken part in one informal performance when he was in fifth grade.

Jonathan first decided to join the productions because he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his sisters who had both taken part in the performing arts prior to Jonathan.

“I saw a couple of their [performances],” Jonathan said, “and I was like, ‘that’s pretty cool.’”

Jonathan joined theatre with a “why not” mindset but ended up having a great time. It gave a new spark of uniqueness to a typically monotonous school day.

“Being around other people [and] acting out [parts] was really fun,” Jonathan said. “[It’s better] than just sitting there [doing nothing].”

Jonathan expanded his social horizons through his theatrical life in multiple ways. In addition to meeting new people, Jonathan also solidified previous friendships and grew closer to current friends.

Although Jonathan enjoys chatting and joking with his fellow thespians, the acting is ultimately what matters most to him.

In the future, Jonathan hopes to dive into a new pool of drama in the form of high school performances. Although he didn’t take part in the fall play, he is anxiously awaiting the next.

“I think that it would be super enjoyable,” Jonathan said, “especially in high school.”

Nerves are natural for any performer, including Jonathan. Fortunately, Jonathan has found a way to work around them. Whether it be an audition or a live performance, Jonathan manages to keep his cool.

“When you think about it, the pressure’s really on,” Jonathan said, “but when you get into the feel of it, once you start acting, [you] feel better. [You] don’t have to look at the whole crowd. If you enjoy acting, it feels right.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic and all the restrictions in place, Jonathan’s eighth-grade theatrical experience was cut short. Unsurprisingly, Jonathan was let down as he had once again received a lead role.

On the other hand, part of Jonathan was a bit relieved. The planning for last year’s play had been hectic as many people who were less passionate about the performance kept neglecting to show up for practice.

“It was very fun to do it again with meeting new people,” Jonathan said, “but once we started changing everything around, it just didn’t seem [as fun].”

The satisfaction at the end of a play is more than enough of a reward for Jonathan for all of his hard work, time, and effort.

Theatre comes with its quirks, such as technical difficulties, script rearrangements, and blocking changes, but that doesn’t stop Jonathan from pursuing it; it’s what he loves to do.

The satisfaction at the end of a play is more than enough of a reward for Jonathan for all of his hard work, time, and effort.

“‘I got it done!’” Jonathan said, speaking on his inner thoughts after a performance. “‘I didn’t break down!’”

Despite being an avid performer and lead character, Jonathan enjoys the art of theatre more than the attention it brings him. Through all the pressure to be perfect, Jonathan still manages to have a great time without getting too stressed out.

“You can express yourself, and it’s all for fun,” Jonathan said. “[Theatre] is really nice.”