More than acting: ‘Shrek Jr.’ role has taught determination, confidence


The cast of The Burlington School's "Shrek the Musical Jr." rehearse a scene recently. [Chris Rash / Special to the Times-News

By Will Self
Special to the Times-News

   When Bethany Baker, drama teacher at The Burlington School, asked if I was interested in the role of Lord Farquaad in “Shrek, The Musical Jr.,” I was surprised, and a little bit confused.
I’d never had a big part before, so the first thing that went through my head was — “why me?”
Despite my immediate reaction, I just couldn’t pass it up. It is by far the biggest role I’ve ever had in any play or musical.
I thought it would be incredibly difficult to keep up with everyone else in the cast, especially on top of playing baseball and schoolwork. I had to find out how to learn my speaking part because the most I’d ever had before was one single line.
I’m lucky enough to have a great group of people surrounding me at home, at school, and on the stage who have helped me learn and, most importantly, perform. Now that the hard part is over with, it is an incredibly fun experience.
Farquaad’s dramatic, energetic character fits my personality. We are also both abnormally shorter than everyone else, which I’ve somehow learned to embrace by pretending to be 3 feet tall.
It is humbling to have this role. It’s taught me to take what I get and make the most of every second. I haven’t just learned how to be a better actor in these past two months, but I’ve also learned how to be a better man.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday, May 10, 2019, and Saturday, May 11, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 12, at the Paramount Theater, 128 E. Front St., Burlington. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at, by calling 800-514-3849.

Will Self is a freshman at The Burlington School.


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