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The Kansas Wesleyan University Theatre Department is about “pushing the limits of imagination”. That is the mission, and that is exactly what we did within every production. Theatre, in my opinion, is about taking risks and expanding upon our creativity, experiences, and knowledge.
Regarding creativity: There's the saying, that if you tell yourself you can't, then you can't, but if you tell yourself you can, then you can. A creative mind, namely the theatrical mind, says, “I can”, and is always willing to try something new. A creative mind can recognize the beauty in almost anything and can bring happiness and satisfaction into their work and their affect on others. The intuitive mind, such as an actor, has the ability to be flexible in completing any task and to be prepared for anything to happen.
Regarding experiences: An actor is the only job that requires you to tell the truth, and therefore an actor must have a broad range of communication and interpersonal skills. The most affective and influential performances are those in which the actors can truly listen and talk with another human to find out what he or she needs, and then in return, how to affect them. This ability is gained through experiences; by living a life of endless possibilities and through learning and interacting with a variety of people everyday. We can't “act” like a character that we know nothing about, and likewise, we can't act with characters if we don't learn and listen. My four years of study were in many ways a psychological analysis of myself and my past experiences. I had to learn how to bring my personal history and relate it with the stories of the characters I portrayed.
Regarding knowledge: An actor is a scholar. Every production has a playwright, who has written a story that has a history. Every story has characters, who also had lives from the past. It is the job of an actor (and anyone involved in the production process) to research the play/musical for it's roots and then find a way to share that character's truth. It's similar to doing endless amounts of book reports, psychology research, history papers, and science experiments: First we need to know the themes, the setting, and the history of the characters. Then we analyze our characters and come up with a hypothesis as to what we believe the character would think or do based on our research. And finally, we test our hypothesis on stage to determine if our choices could produce a plausible product with our fellow actors, the script, and then ultimately the audiences.
On a personal note: Because of the education I received in the theatre, I am a well-rounded individual who is prepared to achieve my goals of working as an actress and teacher. The theatre prepared me for higher education (MFA), for professional acting work, and for a variety of jobs both in the theatre and business workforce. I have a broad range of research and communication abilities, and a variety of life skills that make me highly marketable. I am proud to call myself an actor because my experiences and successes on stage at Kansas Wesleyan University go hand in hand with my experiences and successes off stage.
Monica Tate Class of 2012 Magna Cum Laude