Marlins of Mercy: Cara Forfinski


Alyssa Johnston

Cara Forfinski sits on the edge of the Mercy stage, awaiting rehearsal for her last Mercy musical, Mary Poppins.

“My first play was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The reason I did it was because I’ve always had this big personality. [When] I was little my dad got me into theater and my sister was in the show, so I did it because of her.

I started dancing when I was 3, at a dance company. Then I stopped because I was into sports. I grew up singing — my whole family is very musical — so I just grew up singing songs around the house. [In] sophomore year I started training my voice privately.

My mom would always take my sister to the Mercy shows, but I didn’t go for some reason. Then I went to Hello Dolly and Veronica Battersby was Dolly. She was up on stage and the whole show I just stared at her. I was like ‘I need to come here and I need to do that and that’s going to be me.’ I still think about that now. That’s why I wanted to come to Mercy.

As much as I love musicals, Anne of Green Gables was a hit to my heart. I really like plays because I think they’re almost harder since you have to capture so much emotion without a song to do it for you.

Godspell was my favorite production. I came in [to Mercy] with that whole idea of ‘yes this is where I want to be, this is why I came here’ and it exceeded my expectations because of the close knit group of people.

I still have my cross that Mrs. Sill gave us. It hangs in my car and I used to wear it every day. I hide it in my costume each show so that I have it on me. I’ve never felt so connected religiously to a group of people and a show, and I’ve never felt so much love with a cast because it’s hard when there’s 50 people, but when there’s 17 you just click.

This [show includes] my third stage kiss that I have done, so I’ve been through a lot of awkward situations with Mrs. Sill. We’re talking about you kissing someone with Mrs. Sill standing right next to you. It’s someone who’s like my other mom watching me kiss someone. It’s so weird. You also have to deal with the other person, and you’re chatting to make the time go by, and it’s so awkward.

I’ve had to sacrifice everything for theater. I now plan everything around rehearsal and show times so it’s not as bad anymore. I almost had to quit my job because of the shows. When I first got my job, I was the only employee, so I was working during the week. I would go to rehearsal, which ends at 5:30 p.m. and then I would have to work at 6:00 p.m. I would drive right there and would work until 11:00 p.m. Then I would start stressing over a chem test or something because it was my sophomore year. I gave up my sanity for theater.

I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m just trying to figure out where I’m going to college. Ideally, I want to do something with theater, but if I can’t do that then there [are] different things that I do now that I can probably do. A music therapist would be really cool for me because I work with kids.”