The Spartan newspaper has seen many familiar faces grace it’s pages, from sports stars to theatre regulars, to active members on campus.
For one student on campus, it’s finally her time to shine.
Jordan Thrane, a senior acting and direction major, is a well-known face on campus. She’s usually in the Fine Arts Centering, wearing various colored Adidas track pants and a graphic tee. She is friendly and hilarious, yet shy and endearing.
In a recent edition of The Spartan, Thrane was featured in a story about her playing the male lead in the upcoming theatre performance.
But that was before audiences saw her as Christopher, a boy on the autism spectrum.
Thrane, originally from South Burlington, Vermont, started doing theatre when she was 6 years old, and has been performing in schools shows and working at summer camps ever since. Around her senior year of high school, she realized she wanted to do theatre as her major, because it’s the only thing she really liked.
She toured Castleton, and after seeing the theatre department and meeting professor Harry McEnerny, she knew Castleton was the perfect fit for her.
“Actually, fun fact, my freshman year I did not make it into any plays,” said Thrane, reflecting on her time at Castleton.
Thrane, now a senior, was just recently in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,” where she played the lead role of Christopher.
It was her first lead role.
“Last semester, in the spring, Harry announced that we were doing Curious Incident, and we had just seen the play in London,… and I loved the play, so during the summer I wanted to read the book,” Thrane said. “And I just did overall research of the play, and people with autism in general, just to understand what was going on, even though at that point, in my mind, I did not have it that ‘I want to be Christopher,’ I just wanted to understand everything.”
When asked how she felt once it fully sunk it that she was playing Christopher, she thought pensively for a moment, before responding with “I don’t know that it actually sunk in until we started doing shows.”
“The rehearsal process, you’re mostly just focused on ‘I gotta learn my lines, I gotta learn what I’m doing,’ so you can’t really focus on ‘this is a show, this is the character,’ and everything,” she says. “Once we started getting feedback from shows, that was when it really hit me, that this is a very powerful show and character.”
Audiences left the theatre amazed, in shock, and with more knowledge. People who didn’t know Thrane were amazed, and so were the people who did know her.
You could hear director Harry McEnerny and choreographer Maya Kraus talking to audience members about how she knocked it out of the park, and how she worked her butt off to honestly portray the character of Christopher.
“It’s the kind of show and character where if you are getting anything but good feedback, then you’re playing the role offensively,” she said.
Luckily, Thrane says the response and feedback has been really good, and she’s really thankful for it.
“I’m not on the spectrum, but (Christopher) is, and so it’s kind of like a voice, almost, for people who are, and I’m just glad that I could portray that correctly, and I wanted to do as much research as I could,” she said. “People still come up and talk about it, and how much they loved it.”
Thrane says the main feedback that really stuck with the entire cast, was when those who have autistic people in their lives, either as family members or they work with them, said the show was done beautifully and that they all did it justice.
“That’s the most important feedback, I think,” Thrane said.
The physicality of playing Christopher was the most challenging part for Thrane, from figuring out how much eye contact to make with each person, to the big freak-out scenes.
But Thrane said the most important thing she learned from the experience was about that community.
“I have known people with autism before, but have never took the chance to really understand it more, and I think we should all try to understand it more, because there is a lot of stuff that we just don’t realize,” she said.
As one of the first pieces of the CU/SeeMe campaign on campus, Thrane hopes for more opportunities to bring awareness to people on the autism spectrum, to be more accommodating, and to keep having more shows that push boundaries
She said she’d also love to continue to do more shows after she graduated, maybe even movies. She just wants to be in entertainment.
When asked about her dream role, she said it already happened, as Christopher.