Lauren Allison experienced a moment of panic during the Jan. 27 performance of Cold Storage. The lights went out in the middle of her line. Unsure of what to do, Allison stopped until the lights turned back on. During intermission, professor and co-performer C. David Frankel told her she did the right thing.
Frankel is a professor and the assistant director for the USF theatre program, and Allison is one of his students. Frankel suggested that Allison audition for the role after the previous performer dropped out of the Tampa Repertory Theatre’s production of Cold Storage
“Lauren is very accomplished for her age,” Frankel said. “I’m usually reluctant to involve students because of the time commitment, but I thought that Lauren was capable of bringing certain qualities to the role.”
Allison said that working with Frankel and co-performer Jim Wicker was an interesting experience. As they practiced and performed she could see that, as her teacher, Frankel wanted to offer her direction but had to stop himself because, in this situation, they were cast members and not teacher and student.
“It was fun to be on the same level as the other cast members,” Allison said. “Frankel is such a seasoned actor and watching him work with Jim Wicker was such a learning experience.”
This wasn’t the first time Frankel or Allison stepped out of their school roles while performing. Allison performed with Daniel Bonnett, her then high school drama teacher, in the Broward Center of the Performing Arts production of The Jungle Book.
“It was the same sensation as in Cold Storage,” Allison said. “I had to keep reminding myself that I was an equal in that setting.”
When Frankel taught at Saint Leo University, he also had worked with students in two instances where actors dropped out at the last moment and in another instance where the students requested it.
“The students wanted to do Moliere’s The Miser and they wanted me to play the main character Harpagon,” Frankel said. “The theatre department was closing and it was a last, fun thing to do. I saw it as a way for the students to work with someone of a different age and experience level.”