Featured Performer: Ethan Gartska


Junior, Ethan Gartska, demostrates his passion and talent of acting. This image is provided by Ethan Gartska.

Chiara Douglas, Reporter

Ethan Gartska, a junior at West Springfield High School, channels his inner artist through his passion for performance. From calming nerves walking onto stage to holding hands and bowing with accomplishment, Ethan symbolizes the articulation that is needed in acting and the meaning it holds in daily life.

Ethan explored the world of acting five years ago, through connections with friends in the Drama Club. After much consideration, Ethan became a member and ended up loving it. As his interest in acting became more prominent, he continued to be featured in several performances around Western Mass. Ethan stated, “I’ve been in several community theatre program shows… some of these include Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio), Bye Bye Birdie (Conrad), and currently, Les Miserables (Marius) which will be going up in about three weeks.” Ethan strives to showcase his innate ability to tune into his characters emotions and actions in every show he accompanies. 

Many actors have different techniques when getting into character, and Ethan’s seem to be very effective. Depending on the character being portrayed, he will take time to embody their situation, and epitomize their emotions. Ethan continued, “For example, when I played Mercutio I thought to myself, ‘how would an extremely sociable, emotionally unstable, overly articulate teenager deal with his own sudden death?’” These mindsets Ethan voluntarily puts himself into ultimately transforms his character, and instantaneously draws in the attention of his audience. 

Along with personifying his character, Ethan uses many techniques such as memorization and preparation when auditioning for roles. Depending on the piece, Ethan will provide sheet music that corresponds with the musical, or he will repeat his monologue until it is retained with dependence. 

Like many performers, anxiety and doubt fall before a show. Ethan revealed, “I get nervous from time to time in certain shows whether it be due to uncertainty that I’m ready, or lack of confidence in the show itself.” Although these feelings may affect the overall performance of many actors, Ethan finds a way to make light of the situation, by exercising backstage, or stretching among his peers. 

Walking off stage after completing a show is a feeling of adrenaline and relief. Although many peers congratulate and confess pride in their performers, a few choose to criticize. When considering the critiques of his audience, Ethan takes the high road and moves on. He expressed, “Sometimes criticism from directors or other actors irks me, but when it happens, I tend to keep my head high and brush it off the best I can so it doesn’t negatively affect my performance on stage.” Ethan constantly focuses on the responsibility he holds throughout his performance, and always does what’s best for the show and his fellow actors.

Before finding his passion for acting, Ethan awed over a few well-known actors, and hoped to emulate their sense of hilarity, seriousness, and wisdom. His love for Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton, Gene Wilder, Bill Murray, and Robin Williams, influenced his childhood and led to his memorable presence on stage. Ethan elaborated, “the experience of expressing myself on stage combined with the many new people I meet on the way always keeps me going. When I look back, I can also see my progress and how much better I’ve gotten as the years go by.” Ethan hones in on his personal experiences and love for theatre in a nonchalant way, and serves as an inspiration to many surrounding him. 

Rewarding experiences are constantly received throughout acting, whether it be spending time with friends, finally memorizing a difficult scene, or hearing the applause at the conclusion of a finishing act. Although many positive reflections are made among many performers, there is one experience that remains the most unforgettable. Ethan confessed, My greatest accomplishment as an actor is hearing the audience members after shows give me feedback on my performance, and other actors or directors around the area telling me I did a good job. My favorite part is when complete strangers come up to me and say, ‘Wow… just amazing…’ That feels really great, I won’t lie.” Ethan dignifies the desire and sincerity in performing, and completely captivates the morale that is exemplified through his movement and expression on the stage.