Artist of the Issue: Zach Scrima ’22


Scott Barrow

Zach Scrima ’22 as Harry Bright in Mamma Mia!

Zach Scrima ’22 is a four-year senior from Sacramento, California. He is a theater student, and has performed in school plays such as blackboxes, the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as well as Mamma Mia!


How did you first become interested in the arts, especially theater?  

It’s actually a fun little story. When I was in 4th grade, there was a production of Cinderella: The Return of the Glass Slipper, and I was the only one who auditioned for the prince so I got that role. I really embraced it, and that’s how I made my debut in 4th grade theater. Since then, I fell in love with theater.


How has the school helped you grow in theater?

 Prep year is a lot about creativity and getting comfortable with being on stage. During my Lower-Mid Theater class with Mr. Parker Reed, I then kicked it up a gear. I owe a lot of my growth to that class as it teaches you that theater can’t always be fun and games; there is a level of discipline that’s needed, especially when learning lines. We had a “Discipline Day” where we would learn a task and learn it well. Some examples include learning all of Shakespeare’s plays, or even throwing a tennis ball behind you and catching it. These exercises teach you discipline, which you need to master to finally get to the fun stuff.


You’ve recently performed in Mamma Mia. Can you tell me a little bit about what that’s been like?

It’s the big reopening of Walker and it’s the first in-person theater that some of us have done in two years so it feels like a really big deal. There’s a bit of a pressure in that, which just means that there’s that much more motivation to bring it home. My character is from England, so as a personal challenge I’ve decided to learn a British accent so that’s been pretty fun. 


What motivates you to keep growing in the realm of theater?

I would say that a performance is never perfect and you’re your own worst critic, so you always have something you think you could do better on next time. Keep reading up on plays or make a bucket list of roles you might want to play in the future; it’s just fun little stuff like that to keep your heart in the game. Also make little notes and see if there is anything you can learn technique wise so that you can really enhance your performance. 


What advice would you give to younger students who are interested in theater?

Don’t be afraid. It seems like the biggest deterrent for people getting into theater at Hotchkiss would be that it’s easier said than done to audition for anything. However, I think if you’re interested in theater, theater instructors and maybe an upperclassman who is into theater are all willing to give you any tips and advice for auditioning. We are also working to make theater more accessible in the future so if you have any desire to pursue it, we encourage these people to do it.


Pro-Tips on Stage Fright!

The truth is, you don’t completely overcome stage fright. But there are two things to keep in mind:

Preparation. Make sure you have everything prepared and make sure to run through it many times. Repetition always helps. If you still don’t feel ready after rehearsals, you keep going over it. Again, it circles back to discipline. 

Accept that stage fright never really goes away. Being nervous means that you care, and maybe you can translate some of that nerves into your performance.