Jackson Ringley, portraying Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, leads an ensemble in a rendition of "The Brain" from "Young Frankenstein." (Photo by The Fort Mill Sun)

Nation Ford High senior Jackson Ringley spoke with The Fort Mill Sun after a dress rehearsal of “Young Frankenstein” on Tuesday morning. He leads an amazing cast, portraying Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in the Mel Brooks musical.

Tell us a little about your background. You have been in other performances?

I’ve done the last four musicals here and competed with our school in the Blumey Awards every year, too. Last year, we got very lucky. We won five. We won all of the group awards that we were nominated for.

What did you think about this role?

It’s something that I never thought I could play because I am sort of crazy in general and I’m all over the place. But I never thought I would be able to translate that on stage. So to get to go in and out of this –right now I am in love with this woman and now I am going to scream for 20 minutes – I didn’t think I would be able to pull something like that off. 

So it pushed you as an actor?

Yes, it definitely pushed me. It’s been the most physically demanding thing I have ever done. There are bruises all over my legs.  … From jumping on the table, being pushed down, all of that stuff.

What do you think the community would think if they came to the show?

I think it’s helpful to be familiar with Mel Brooks’ comedy to begin with. Because there are a lot of quick-wit jokes where you either get it or you don’t, (spoken) quickly and we move on from it. But I also think the community would be surprised that Mel Brooks … was able to turn that iconic movie into a musical. I think it is it’s own unique piece aside from the movie, but it still captures all of the things that he made so brilliant.

Are you hoping to make this a career?

I am hoping to go into the directing side of it. That is sort of my ambition right now. 

How does one go into the directing side?

Usually, it starts as an actor. I directed last semester a short one-act (play). The thing that I realized was that in order to communicate with actors and to communicate with tech, you have to have done it before. So when I spoke to some directors over the summer at a workshop, they all said if you are going for undergrad, you need to get a generalist theater major and then go for your masters in directing. So you learn all the different trades and then you can put on the perfect show by being able to communicate with everyone.

Did you have a favorite Scene from the performance?

I am torn between ‘Together Again’ and ‘Roll in the Hay.’ Those are so funny. 

“Young Frankenstein” has performances at the Nation Ford High School auditorium at 7:30 p.m. nightly on Thursday-Saturday, March 21-23, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, March 24. The location is 1400 A.O. Jones Boulevard, Fort Mill, South Carolina 29715.

Tickets available at https://www.carolinatix.org/events/detail/young-frankenstein. Remaining tickets will be available at the door one hour before showtime.