On the Stage
Shakespeare is well known for seeing all the world as a stage. I like see the stage as a big part of my world. Here is some of the visual content from my 2013-2014 year in theatre. I was involved in three shows in total with varying roles in each.
The Connemara Five
My first was the English debut of Micheál Ó Conghail's The Connemara Five. The show is based around a family living in contemporary Connemara who must eventually come to terms with the realities of their past in order to survive in the present. Although I was intially brought on as an understudy, I ended up playing the role of Danny, an adult transvestite dealing with his complicated relationships and personal issues of acceptance. I was also tasked with designing and constructing the set. The whole process was a whirlwind of hard work, long days in the scene shop and longer nights at rehearsal. However in the end, the show worked out. I learned a lot about the quality demanded in university poductions as this was my first one out of high school. I also learned about staying visually interesting when standing around on the stage. This lesson came from my director, a rising Senior named Seán Cotter, who is an art history major and shared with me the perspective of seeing the stage as a canvas, upon which you (the actor) are the painitng. In retrospect I, as set designer and actor, I now realize just how vital I was to creating this work of art as I constructed the canvas (stage) and illustrated the painitng (performed as an actor). Overall this extended role gave me a ton of experience, confidence and competence and really helped me develop as a dramtic artist.
Inherit the Wind
"My other acting role this year came in Inherit the Wind, a retelling af the events of the famous Scope's Monkey Trial. I played Henry Drummond (Based off of Clarence Darrow) the lawye in defense of the high school teacher Bertram Cates (Based off of Scopes). This time around, my sole responsibility was playing the part, so I was able to really delve into the primary role of an actor: to bring a character to life. Overall the show was a success. I was proud of the performances I made and felt something special: a connection to my audience. I found myself changing little things I did routinely in rehearsal in order to better engage the audience for that night. I was given a lot of freedom for this production so I felt like the end product was very much my own creation. However, there are still some things I did that felt unnatural and forced, likely a result of habits developed in rehearsal. I now know to always have a script close at hand, not just to check for lines but also to refer back to the material and refresh my approach to certain parts."
The Demise of the Downtown Bar Scene
"For the Student Player's original production, The Demise of the Downtown Bar Scene, I returned to my roles behind the scenes. The show is about a struggling-to-be-hip bar owner and his regulars. Even as things start to fall apart, the bar keeps them together. I was tasked as set designer/technical director and was able to build a multifunctional set with limited space and resources. Below are some of the process images as well as pictures of the production in action. This role outside of acting forced me to have the pure experience of being an audience member and it was awesome to see the show from outside looking in."
Six Characters in Search of an Author
"A modern rendition of Luigi Pirandello's play written in 1921. It focusses on a family of characters from a play intruding on the rehearsal of another show in order to relate their tragic tale. We had it set in the modern day and used Notre Dame's campus as the setting. I played The Son, one of the titular characters and the estranged one of the family. This was my first show in the fabled DeBartolo Centre for the Performing Arts (DPAC) and has, to date, been my most memorable show. From the illustrious Decio mainstage to the scene shop, everything exuded an air of professionalism that I could not believe. Patrick Vassel, a Notre Dame alum, was our director and, being a working director in New York City, gave us invaluable perspective on the world of theatre. It's an experience that I'll remember for a long time and I hope to return to that hallowed venue for future performances."
"With an intensive year of theatre under my belt, I now am looking to next year. While I intend to devote more time to some of my other endeavors, my hope is to try at least one of the Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) Department's shows. These shows often have a professional air about them anf they also perform in The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC). I would love to expose myself to a more professional atmosphere and see if I still get the same positive experience out of it. Ultimately I still feel the desire to develop my talents in the dramtic arts, but at the same time, I am a student first, and its time I embraced that."