Senior Mia Battaglia has taken an accidental audition and turned it into a passionate pursuit.
By Malia Mendez '18
Mia Battaglia came to Orange Lutheran with the intention of trying out for the girls’ basketball team. However, her brother Charlie - along with his entourage - had a different plan in mind.
The younger Battaglia obliged, and with that, made a decision that would play a vital role in her personal growth and experience at Orange Lutheran as a whole.
Instead of auditioning on the hard court, she auditioned for Tarzan.
Other than singing in the church choir as a kindergartener and creating independent films with her brother, Battaglia had virtually zero previous experience in performing. Even so, she was cast as the role of young Tarzan, and found her first Orange Lutheran family in the theatre department.
“I wasn’t even into acting!” Battaglia says about playing the odd role, which required her to run around the stage like a hyper kid.
Although acting was new to her, this demeanor needed for her inaugural role was not. To this day, Tarzan is her favorite show because of the sentiment attached to it. The production was a door into an entire world of theater and production that would envelop her for the next three years. Numerous personas were awaiting her portrayal.
One of these was Battaglia’s role as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, which she describes as “the craziest role of her OLu acting career.” To play a blind woman meant much training in coordination with her eyes closed, which also meant that like Tarzan, she interacted a lot with the stage floor.
“I had bruises all over my body,” she remembers with amusement.
Her director once told her that the level of enthusiasm and authenticity she was putting into the role wasn’t necessary, but she argued the contrary and happily dealt with the bruises. During the second act of one of the shows, Battaglia was hit in the face with a glass pitcher and, trying with all valor to avoid crying, finished the scene. She also refused to go to the hospital later that night, demonstrating her passionate patronism of “the show must go on.”
Battaglia’s commitment to the arts can be seen beyond her numerous spotlight moments. She also participates in Sacred Music, Chamber Singers, Drama 3 and Musical Theatre Dance. Whether it be leading worship in the gym or belting a solo in the Nechita, Battaglia takes every opportunity she can to perform and bring joy to others through art. She even enjoys writing and producing her own YouTube videos on the side.
“We put in so much work and dedication,” Battaglia says, “but people don’t realize until they come to see it.”
She encourages students to not only attend the shows, but dive into the theatre family. While many buy into the stereotype that theatre kids are cliquey and unwelcoming, Battaglia proves quite the contrary and vocalizes that it is a homey department, one that is consistently looking for new faces.
“It’s always fun when people come in because you get to build new generations.”
Battaglia is currently paving the way for new generations by, for the first time, not participating in the Fall Musical: Cinderella. She plans to use the free time to pursue a submersion into the role of “Mia,” a continually enigmatic but exciting pursuit. She reflects that she has learned so much and knows God has gifted her with a heart for entertainment, but is also working on accepting that she’s not quite sure where she’s headed.
Battaglia plans to rest in God’s promise of a future for her, and cannot wait to see her faith grow through that.