Student Spotlight: Peyton Ashley

Luke Lindsey, Staff Writer

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Peyton Ashley is a strong-willed and passionate person who gives all of her ability to whatever she’s pursuing. One of her many interests lie in the Thespian Arts, which have been an expressive outlet for her since grade school. “It’s exactly how everyone says it

 is; you get the bug, and I got addicted to it.” During her freshman year, Peyton was cast as the lead in her first high school show and played Helen Keller, a deaf, blind, and mute character, which was an incredibly difficult character to portray. Her lead performance won her best state actress at competition.

This year, Peyton played Lydia, a deaf character, in the show Children of a Lesser God. “It’s so full-circle,” Peyton said, commenting on how nostalgic playing her character this year was.                                                                                                                                    

Peyton first became involved in the theater department her sixth-grade year, joining because her friend had shown an interest and she got curious about it as well. She quickly discovered that theater meant much more to her than just some extracurricular activity. Her interest quickly grew to a passion that pulled her through the rest of middle and high school.

Freshman year of high school is a huge and stressful transition, with common struggles and relationships beginning to increase in complexity, and how everything can quickly seem so big and overwhelming. “My mom made my decisions for me, well, for her and for the man she was in love with at the time. And this was also the peak of my anxiety; my anxiety has never been worse than it was the first six months of freshman year.”

She was placed as the lead in her first play, feeling the stress and pressure of not letting down the seniors whose last show she was performing in. “I feel like as an actress or actor, you do your best to channel what is happening in your life, and try and mimic feelings of a human on stage,” Peyton mentioned during our interview. Relating yourself to your character is a powerful necessity that she demonstrates in her performances.

Her character, Helen Keller, was a real person who had a normal brain but lacked the ability to communicate with anyone. She was an incredibly frustrated and consequently troubled kid, like anyone would be in her situation, only having three main senses: touch, taste, and smell. Peyton mentioned how she was able to relate to her character, feeling as if she couldn’t be heard by her friends and family at the time, and was able to channel that on stage to bring an award winning performance.

Playing Lydia in this year’s show brought her back to Hellen Keller. “It was easy for me to get in that head space, since I’ve done it before,” Peyton mentioned, but the result was more of a positive impact, bringing closure to her four year commitment to theater. Although the show didn’t get justice in competition, placing 4th, its talented cast, jaw dropping performance, and tear jerking content was an internally moving experience from an audience’s perspective.

“It’s a beautiful thing to stand on a stage in front of people and make them happy,” Peyton said during our interview. Her talent and drive for the thespian arts is evident in her performances, and her hard work boils over into her other areas of interest as well.  

Her last performance of 18 shows of her school career was powerful enough to steal one’s breath away. Acting is definitely a major part of Peyton’s life and is something she plans on pursuing in the future.

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