Jamilynn Geske
Staff Artist

Since the fifth grade, sophomore Gianna Merghart has been participating at the San Diego Junior Theater located in Balboa Park. Around the age of seven, Merghart had gained an interest in theater from watching her aunt perform in many theatrical shows.

“I think my favorite part would be getting to work with so many different people because every time it’s a new group [and we’re] learning how to work together and [how to consider] different things that people bring to the table,” Merghart said.

According to Merghart, the aspects of the program involve acting, vocal training and dance lessons that take up a majority of a person’s time in the program. Rehearsing for roles and learning various techniques for productions is the basis of what the program inhibits.

“To me, the most important positive is the building of character, both figuratively and literally. She learns about character development of the people she plays on stage. But she also developed a lot of self-character and it’s helped her through some difficult times,” mother of G. Merghart, Kristen Merghart said.

In the words of K. Merghart, G. Merghart began to learn the visual aspects of the performing arts and gained self-confidence while being in the theater program. This also includes coping with rejections from certain productions.

“It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of time. I have heard talk about her being behind in on school work, behind overall on her social life as well. But this is something that she’s been doing since she was little,” friend of G. Merghart and sophomore Mikayla Booth said.

From what K. Merghart has seen thus far, G. Merghart will continue to pursue theater, whatever her case may be. Though she may be behind socially, G. Merghart does create her own relationships within auditions and productions of the plays she is in.

“It’s one of my favorite things, I love it. It’s something I will definitely be doing [after high school],” G. Merghart said.

Being her passion, theater has been a part of G. Merghart’s life since a young age and continues to influence her for as long as she remains in the Balboa program.

“I’ve seen her, not only act but be in musicals as well, not only is she acting—which she is amazing at by the way, memorizing all those lines—but she’s also sung before. She’s working nonstop to be able to be in these plays. I see her as a very passionate and a very hardworking girl,” Booth said.

Although there is a possibility of rejection for a role, G. Merghart continues to perform and goes beyond the expectation of her peers and family. She has been in about 18 performances so far since she has been in attending the Junior Theater.

“The two shows that stand out the most are Adam’s Family, the first show she ever did, and Music Man. Adam’s was the first time I got to see her on stage and it was such a proud moment. Music Man was a standout because it was one of the first times she got a name role and I got to see her perform and the progression she had shown over 2 years,” K. Merghart said.

From the multiple shows she performed in, the two named show variety in what G. Merghart participates in and where her strengths lie in the shows.

“She wants to expand past stage theatre”, K. Merghart said. “She is a hard worker, determined and very focused. When she sets her mind to something, she doesn’t give up until she decides it’s time. I admire that in her,”

For as long as she has been in the program and through her accomplishments, support is continually given from those close to her. G. Merghart’s family and peers are open to supporting her involvement in theater and the possibility of it becoming a career option after high school.

“I just think that she is definitely going to go far whether it’d be acting, singing or even both, she will go far. I just hope she never quits. I really want her to [keep going],” Booth said.