As we prepare for another graduation, we asked a few graduating students to share their experience before they leave our hallowed halls to begin their professional careers.
What are your plans for after graduation?
If only I knew! There are so many possibilities and many paths to take and I’m still not sure which to take. After doing the acting showcase in New York and Chicago I feel like I can go to any city and start my career anywhere. But first, I believe I must give myself the time to think and reflect on what I want my “career” to be. What and who do I want to represent? What do I want to portray through my art? What is my art? I think my plans for after graduation is to find out for myself what it means to be an artist and develop my craft even further through different experiences that come my way.
How do you define success?
I believe there’s no one definition for success. Every single person is on their own path with there own goals and dreams. Success for me is being happy, comfortable, and proud of whatever I’m doing at that time. It might be as simple as finally getting my pet rabbit a toy or making it to the latest opening to another Marvel film. Anything that brings joy to one’s life.
What is your favorite thing about the theatre and dance department at Wayne?
My favorite thing would have to be being able to have close relationships with professors and classmates. There’s a strong community that develops throughout the years.
Why did you choose to study theatre?
I knew that I’d pursue the arts in one way or another. I didn’t think it would’ve been acting but it’s what spoke to me and grabbed my attention. I saw myself thriving in this department and fortunately, I feel like I did. Also, if I had the money I definitely would be getting three other majors.
What was the biggest lesson you learned from the program? And who taught you that lesson?
The biggest lesson I learned is to take each day at a time, to live in the moment, and to not take life too seriously. I learned this from myself with the help of a therapist and from past school teachers. Also, as John Wolf said at the beginning of this year, “We don’t have to do theatre, we get to do theatre.” Or something along those lines. HAHA! This saying can be applied to everything and anything.
Who was one of the most influential people to your journey?
The most influential person in my life has been Marybeth Kinnell, my high school drama teacher who sadly passed away this last October after fighting ovarian cancer for about four years. She was a ray of sunshine that believed in my talent and potential full heartedly. She was the one who taught me to not take everything so seriously and that anything is possible. One of her favorite songs was “Dancing Queen” by ABBA so I think it was fitting to end my Wayne State career with Mamma Mia. I swear to you that during one of the performances I saw her sitting in the audience. I will forever remember that moment.
What class was the most challenging for you?
The most challenging class for me was my Shakespeare acting class with Lavinia. I had no interest in taking the course, but as soon as it clicked in my mind I fell in love with the course. I also now have a love for commedia dell’arte.
What show did you have the most fun doing?
My favorite production that I worked on during the school year was Xtigone by Nambi E. Kelley. There was so much to learn from the story that the playwright brought to life and the process was just as fun to create. The show became a conglomeration of ideas of everyone from the cast and crew. Another production that I am proud of doing was during the Underground student-led summer season in the Studio Theatre. The show was Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker and I was assistant directing alongside Stephanie Stoiko who had graduated the semester before. We explored the viewpoints techniques and it led to a beautiful piece of work.
How did going to Wayne State help you accomplish your goals?
It gave me a heads up on my career and gave me a better understanding of what it means to be an actor. It opened up my eyes to the world and gave me ideas on how to impact it in my own way.
What were the benefits of going to school for theatre in Detroit?
It allowed me to be closer to my family and to explore the city I’ve been living in even further. It’s a city that seems to be rising and has much potential.
What will you miss most after graduation?
I will miss performing with the people who have become incredibly close friends with me and seeing them on a daily basis. I hope that they all thrive in their lives and become the person they want to be.
How were you able to balance performing and school?
I had to throw away a lot of plans with friends and family. This was one of the hardest things sometimes because I’d be doing 7 am to 11 pm shifts every single weekday when rehearsing for a show. I’d make sure I had plenty of snacks, water, and naps.
What advice do you have for future students?
This is the time to make errors and try for new things. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Is there anything you’re working on right now?
I am currently working on a piece with fellow colleagues I’ll be graduating with. We will be performing Bunny Bunny by Alan Zweibel at Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit. It’s “a sort of romantic comedy” of the retelling of Alan Zweibel and Gilda Radner’s relationship within their career working on SNL. So far this project has been tons of fun and I can’t wait to perform it.
“If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” -RuPaul