Theatre Reflection Example

Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

Toward the end of my Christmas Break I attended the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).  It was held in Lansing, Michigan at the Michigan State University campus.  I was nominated an entire year ago for the Irene Ryan Scholarship Auditions which is included in the KCACTF, and have been excited to compete in it ever since then.  When the day came to perform I did not make it as far in the competition as I dreamed, but the experience did not disappoint.  My time at the KCACTF was invaluable and it has taught me a lot about my life as a student and also as an actor.

As I sat in the giant auditorium and watched the Irene Ryan finalists perform, I wondered why I wasn’t on that stage.  There is always a lot of different variables that goes into acting, and since it is an art it is difficult to compare it to someone else’s work.  However, I noticed these actors were meticulous in the way they moved and worked through their scenes.  There were so fluid that I realized they had probably been practicing for at least an entire semester.  I had only began finding possible scenes about a month before the competition started, and even then I had major roadblocks when trying to get the rights to perform a piece and choosing ones that were not appropriate for the competition.  I found out that some schools actually have separate class hours that they use to prepare Irene Ryans as soon as they are nominated.  This was not my experience.  I put off trying to really get into everything only a month ahead of time even though I was nominated an entire year ago.  The professors at Grand Valley don’t have as much information on the festival since many of them have never been there, but that doesn’t excuse my procrastination.  I had high hopes to make it to semifinals, and I had failed because I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been.  This realization made me reflect on all the different things I put off and then had to stress intensely over until I finally turned it in.  Even things like my chemistry tests may have been a little better if I would have put the appropriate effort into it ahead of time.  I now know that I should work on things right away in order to present the best work I have to offer. 

Another thing I noticed throughout the competition was the brilliant work that people were doing.  When I watched the play Art from the students at Miami University, their expressions were very believable.  Also when I went to the workshop on acting for the camera, I noticed a major contrast of skills between different students.  What did these talented people have in common?  Not only did they have raw energy and skill, but they also had people to thank for the refining of their abilities.  Even in the program for Art each student put in their biographies how they has their coaches and professors to thank for being able to express what they did on stage.  I have always heard that our education is what you make of it and I’m still a firm believer in that saying.  However, this solidified the idea that I can make even more of what I’m doing.  I have a certain raw talent.  I have proved that by being nominated for the KCACTF festival, but in order to be truly great I will have to work and exercise by craft under people that want to help me reach my goals.

Something else that happened to me while I was sitting there watching the Irene Ryan finalists, was that I began to feel inspired.  I was witnessing students that were judged for being the best actors in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.  Some of their performances gave me chills and make me want to go on stage and express what I can do.  I saw one girl give her final monologues and her eyes bulged and her face got red as she spoke terrifyingly to the crowd.  She didn’t hold anything back and was completely open to whatever happened on stage.  It was an incredible feeling to watch and I know how it feels to be the one on stage doing what she was doing.  The whole experience made me feel like I was doing something right in my life.

Then, as I left the auditorium I talked to different students from various schools about how they felt about what they just saw.  Many of them had stars in their eyes and felt similar to how I was.  However, I spoke to a few people who just thought the show was “very cool”.  One person who felt this way was a student from Wisconsin who went to the festival as a spectator and not a participant.  He was not an actor, but he enjoyed working backstage with props and building stage sets.  In fact, he wasn’t even a theatre major but an accounting major.  This made me think about how connected the different areas of study were, and how it seems someone cannot reach their true potential without learning a lot of different areas of study.  I’m happy to be going to a liberal arts college because I have had the opportunity to study such a wide range of things.  I began school trying business, then took a semester studying law and I switched to studying advanced chemistry toward a biomedical science major before I finally decided I wanted to pursue my dream of being an actor.  This festival connected me to many different people with different areas of study just like a liberal arts college.  In fact, the student from Wisconsin said he may move to Chicago eventually, which is something I was planning on, and I may have made a great connection with someone who is going into something completely different than I am.

My rich experience at KCACTF was time worth spent.  Not only was the festival a lot of fun, but I learned things there that I may not have realized anywhere else.  Maybe acting is frowned upon sometimes because it is hard to become successful and some people don’t believe it benefits the world.  However, my going to Lansing for a few days in January 2011 made me realize that my career choice isn’t a bad thing.  It is a very, very worthwhile profession, and I understand that now.

Page last modified July 22, 2011