A closer look at Forensics state champion Jackson Dockery

Senior Jackson Dockery looked out at more than 2,000 people.  The location was the Peoria Civic Center, and all of the attention was on him and his partner Nicole Labun as they received first place state medals for their scene in dramatic duet acting.

Dockery and Labun acted out an eight-minute scene from the play A Kid Like Jake. The scene highlights two concerned parents talking about their child being interested in less masculine pursuits such as playing with dolls instead of playing sports and his the possible implications of his actions.

“It’s really cool because it’s so relevant to issues going on today,” Dockery said. “As a parent, you always want what’s best for your son, but you’re not sure how to do it, especially with a situation where you’re not sure of his sexual orientation. Homosexuality is taken on a lot in dramatic events, but this is a new way of taking on the issue and how to deal with it, and I thought that was really cool.”

This is only Dockery’s second year participating in dramatic duet acting. He has participated in humorous duet acting all four years of high school, along with radio speaking freshman year, informative speaking sophomore year, and then dramatic duet acting both junior and senior year. Although Dockery won first place in state in dramatic acting, he prefers humorous acting overall.

“I really like doing humorous more because you get the verbal reaction from the audience unless you hear sniffling or see a single tear from somebody which is rare,” Dockery said. “Comedy is just so much more fun and it doesn’t weigh you down, whereas dramatic is much more serious. I feel like dramatic is actually harder for me because it’s harder to take certain things seriously. Dramatic is really me playing someone that I’m not.”

Dockery began his acting pursuit in a one-act play in seventh grade when a few of his friends convinced him to join just for fun. Since then, he has participated in all of Central’s spring plays and musicals, forensics, improv classes at Second City, Stagedoor Theatre at the Hinsdale Community house, and even acted in a short film for a student at Columbia College in Chicago.

Dockery plans to continue with his passion in acting by majoring in theatre while attending college. He said it’s something that he loves, and just can’t live without.

“What some people say they love about theatre is that they get to escape their everyday, mundane lives,” Dockery said. “ For the audience member, they get to escape their job, or maybe it’s a bad life. The actors get to escape being them, because maybe they aren’t very happy and get to portray someone else and forget who they are. And then some people say that it’s cool to relate to the people on stage. I just think it’s so cool because it’s basically seeing the human experience played out in front of you, and you don’t get to see that very often. And it’s just so interesting because you get to escape, you get to relate, you get to do all of these things. It’s the classiest form of pretend, and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.”