Campus, News

Students share stage with pros

Professional actors may not always be willing to share the spotlight, but at Boston University, they are putting a new twist on office hours by sharing the stage with pupils.
BCAP is a new College of Fine Arts program that integrates the student performance community with the professional one, which often includes CFA faculty members, BCAP Director Jim Petosa said. In its first season of production, BCAP will put on performances of ‘The Glass Menagerie’ from Oct. 15 to Nov. 2 and ‘I Am My Own Wife’ during the spring semester.
‘With seasoned, accomplished, highly skilled actors in the room, the bar the students reach for is higher just by the very nature of the people they’re working with,’ he said. ‘It’s always good to have the doors open, to extend the artistic home beyond just the population that exists within the school at a given time. It allows the depth of the performance to increase.’
Petosa said he is looking forward to what BCAP will do for the theatre program. ‘
‘We’re hoping the program’s spirit will move into school of music and visual arts, integrating CFA with the rest of the university community,’ Petosa said.’ ‘CFA has a reputation of being sequestered from the rest of the school, so we’re hoping that this will draw attention from the other schools.’
CFA senior Jesse Rudoy plays Jim O’Connor in the BCAP production of ‘The Glass Menageries.’ He said the pace of rehearsals have picked up, which is a learning experience.
‘Even without saying anything, you learn a lot from a professional’s process and watching them work,’ Rudoy said. ‘There’s so much benefit to working with people who are more experienced.’
More refreshing was seeing what had not changed given the professionals intimidating levels of expertise, he said.’
‘The things we do as students are not all that different from the way a professional or semi-professional production is done,’ Rudoy said.
Rudoy added interaction with the professional actors has been encouraging in unanticipated ways as well because, like their pupils, they are not perfect performers.
‘The professionals are openly insecure about things,’ Rudoy said. ‘Seeing that at that level you still have doubts about your skills is sort of reassuring. . . They’ve been great about treating me as a peer and not just as a student.’
The program is changing more than just the student experience, School of Theatre associate professor Paula Langton said.
‘Since I’m a working actor who also teaches full time, in the past my professional life as an actor has felt separate from my work at BU,’ Langton, who plays Amanda Wingfield in the BCAP production, said. ‘I think a positive shift is that suddenly those two worlds don’t feel so separate any more, my life as a professional and my life as a teacher are coming together in a very organic way through this program.’
CFA senior Danielle Saks said the production aspects of the show have not changed, but the improvements to what happens onstage trickles into her stage managing work.
‘It’s been a very interesting process, because it has been faculty members so far, and it’s been really nice to work with teachers in a different way,’ Saks.
CFA senior Claire Bretschneider said she spent more time in rehearsals than she ever has before.
‘At first I was intimidated, but I think I created the intimidation myself before anything got started,’ she said. ‘Once we all started working together, all the titles’ and categories we are placed in, student, professional, teacher, disappeared.’

Comments are closed.