Claire de Vries is only 16 years old but the Skyline junior is already staging her future. The talented actress, who was part of Skyline Theater’s production of “Noises Off” this past weekend, knows what she wants to do as she continues to learn, grow, dream and plan.
“I plan to go into acting and filmmaking,” she says. “I hope to study both at college. I have been really inspired by the Times Up movement, and so I want to work to get more involved in creating films and helping other women be successful.
“I recently wrote my first short screenplay and am working on one for a feature film. I’m already making plans to film my short film this summer. It’s been a great experience just learning what it takes to tell a good story, and what has to happen to make a film and get it into theaters. I really want to play powerful women and tell stories that reflect a women’s perspective.”
De Vries isn’t just dreaming as much as preparing. It’s difficult to keep her off the stage. At Skyline, she’s already appeared in “The Diviners,” “Les Mis,” “Shrek the Musical,” “Drowsy Chaperone” as well as the school’s “Get Hype” show every year.
“I am a Shakespeare fanatic, and was so fortunate to get to play my dream role Juliet in our production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ last year as well as at Stratford’s King Company,” de Vries said. “I also got to play “Titania” in Midsummer Night’s Dream at Blue Lake.”
De Vries also recently learned that she will be playing Miranda from the “Tempest at Shakespeare Royal Oak.”
“My mentor and acting coach Barton Bund (who’s a wonderful and really well-respected Michigan filmmaker, director and actor) is directing and it’s the first time I’ll do a full production with him, so I am so excited about it,” she says.
It’s all about learning and laying the ground work for what De Vries hopes is coming down the road.
“I definitely hope to have a career in acting, and in film and stage,” she says. “I love getting to vicariously experience situations I wouldn’t normally, and showing how the pain and joy the character I play feel. I really love being on stage and immersing myself in other worlds.”
Claire, the daughter of Tim and Melanie de Vries, has a 3.9 grade-point average and is an equestrian, competing in eventing. She says what the recent “Noises Off” performance shows is what amazing talent there is at Skyline High School.
“I’ve been doing plays since the beginning of my freshman year, and every year I think the cast can’t get any better, but they always do,” she says. “They really are the most amazing, talented, hardworking people you can imagine. And after three years, they really are like a second family to me and I feel so lucky to get to work (and play) with all of them. In a testament to all of them, we were rehearsing when a tornado warning hit last week. But as they say, ‘The Show Must Go On’ – we just moved to a safe hallway and kept working our lines until the storm passed.”
In “Noises Off,” de Vries played Poppy, who is the stage manager in the play – so she was in the cast playing a crew member – how cool is that.
“The funniest moments were when some of the props didn’t behave, like when the blade of the ax fell off as people were using it to attack each other,” she said. “The great thing about the play being so silly is they just went with it like it was supposed to happen so everyone thought it was just part of the play.
“Also the doors on the set didn’t always stay closed, so I spent a lot of my off-stage time crawling on my hands and knees behind the set to try to close the doors without anyone in the audience seeing me.”
All hands on deck, whatever it takes and adjusting on the fly – all good lessons for a future actor and filmmaker.