The Whirlwind Life of Boring Ellie

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Merideth Langton

Ellie Wilkes works behind the scenes of Kennedy’s 2022 production of Matilda.

Jersey Bilyeu, Writer

“I’m a very boring person. My email is ‘Boring Ellie,’” said senior Ellie Wilkes.

On the contrary, the stories Wilkes had to share suggest the opposite. She’s done everything from theater tech and marching band to teaching herself obscure new tricks.

As a freshman sousaphone player, Wilkes wreaked havoc within the marching band.

“I brought light sabers to the eighth grade [performance] and that’s when you learn don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness,’’ said Wilkes. “Because there’s no way [the directors] would’ve okayed that.”

This became a tradition Wilkes kept through her senior year. Wilkes went as far as bringing the sabers to the marching band’s Ireland trip this past spring break.

When not busy with band, Wilkes enjoys helping out in the theater. She recalled her sophomore year, when she worked on the 2019 Kennedy production of Frozen.

“I had to bring in the house,” Wilkes described, referring to the red curtain seen before and after productions. “I’d grab the house and it’d lift me into the air Mary Poppins-style, because it was so heavy and I had to do it fast.”

In March of Wilkes’ sophomore year, COVID-19 hit. The global pandemic continued through Wilkes’ junior year, canceling the 2020 marching band season.

“That was lame … Not having marching band.” Wilkes said.

As the 2021 school year continued on, pandemic restrictions started to loosen up. Wilkes was once again thrown into the learning curve of technical theater for Kennedy’s production of Clue.

“Everything went wrong on my side of the stage,” Wilkes explained. “The screen came down on top of these rotating walls … There was a bird in the rafters on my side during the last show … We had a prop gun and we ran out of bullets … I wasn’t next to [the gun] one time so the guy had to improv getting off the stage to get the gun and come back.”

Shortly after the chaos of the Clue production, Wilkes entered her senior year, with band back in full swing.

“I’m technically a section leader, but that doesn’t even matter because we’re a democracy. We always have been. We always will be,” Wilkes said.

Soon after, band settled down and the theater department took precedence.

Wilkes explained that Director Nick Hayes didn’t hesitate to ask her to play the infamous role of the abominable snowman, Bumble, going into Kennedy’s 2021 production of Rudolph.

Wilkes was caught off-guard. “I already knew how to walk on stilts, but he didn’t know that.”

Wilkes explained she made acrobatic stilts by following a YouTube video and then taught herself how to walk on them.

As Wilkes nears the end of her high school career, she’s started planning for college life.

“I was gonna go to ISU for some sort of engineering,” said Wilkes. “Maybe I’ll be in the marching band … It’ll be something.”

Wilkes’ senior year isn’t over yet—a fact she wants everyone to remember.