Photography by Danny Fulgencio.
Anna Somodevilla has performed onstage as a laundress, a drama coach and a Victorian-era gossip. In adopting those vastly different roles and personalities, she’s somehow managed to find herself.
“I’m more me onstage,” the Lakehill Preparatory senior says.
Since transferring to Lakehill four years ago, Anna has blossomed through performing arts. Participation in three plays, two musicals and numerous choir concerts proves her congenital disorder has not limited what she can accomplish.
“When you first meet me, I’m very shy,” she says. “I’m weary of what to say and how to act because I can be very weird. But I’ve become more comfortable with myself over the years, friend-wise and as a person. I’m more confident.”
Anna, 17, was born with the genetic mutation spinal muscular atrophy. The disease robs people of physical strength and causes low bone density and muscle tone. The senior must wear leg braces to walk and use a wheelchair for long distances.
Lakehill was a new start for Anna, who was bullied every year at her former school in Grapevine. But the transition wasn’t easy. The coursework was difficult, and advanced classes filled her schedule as a freshman.
What kept her sane was her choir class at the end of the day. Music has always been a reprieve from Anna’s troubles, such as bullying and the death of her grandfather.
“I was born different than everyone else,” she says. “It was hard to go through life different like that. I was able to put headphones on and escape. If I didn’t know how to say words, I would express myself through music.”
A singer since fourth grade, Anna instantly felt comfortable in the tight-knit choir group — even if it was small enough to hear her sing. The alto admits that she has stage fright. But in choir teacher Tracy Herron, Anna found a mentor who saw her potential and pushed her to step into the spotlight.
After that, the big roles kept coming. When auditions for the “Great All American Musical Disaster” rolled around, drama teacher Mark Guerra said there was no need for Anna to try out. He’d already cast her as the sassy and sarcastic drama coach, Winifred Lung.
“My role was a lot of fun because it was my first role, and my character was exactly me in real life,” the senior says. “It was a lot of fun to be sassy and sarcastic onstage without getting in trouble for acting that way.”
Although Anna doesn’t plan to continue choir or drama in college at Texas Wesleyan, she does plan to pursue another art form — film. With favorite movies that include “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “The Greatest Showman,” Anna hopes to help create the nitty-gritty details of those worlds as a script and continuity supervisor.
Script supervisors work to ensure that when different takes and scenes are edited, the finished product doesn’t contain any visual errors. To put it even more plainly, they make sure a film doesn’t land on a BuzzFeed listicle like “26 Obvious Movie Mistakes You Probably Never Noticed.”
“I’ve loved movies growing up — action, fantasy, sci-fi. It’s another escape from the world,” she says. “It makes me think I’m not the only one who has a crazy imagination, and I want to be part of that.”
Photography by Danny Fulgencio.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.