by Michael Bell
(STX, February 6, 2022) During the first week of February, I had the opportunity to participate in a week-long theatre festival, hosted by The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students annually from colleges and universities across the country and UVI is part of Region IV. I had the chance to attend different sessions that gave me a glimpse of how communications and media play a role in acting and theater. I listened to many sessions that included scriptwriting to directing, a how-to course on speaking, enunciating, breathing, and preparing to give your lines in a role. I also had the opportunity to understand what it means to be in a managerial position in directing and working in theater or movie settings.
On my first day at the festival, I had the opportunity to watch Alexander Kanter, the Master Instructor of Theatre & Director of Theatre at the Indian River State College. The point of his seminar was to give an understanding of arts administration. He explained that this seminar would cover the growing need and aspects of leadership in theater and administration associations. He expressed that television, theatre, and acting organizations have lots of money to make, especially those interested in the administration part, with numerous areas to work in, such as managerial, financial departments, or programmatic skills. He expressed that you need to understand travel, social interactions, creative writing/reading, and organization to profit in this environment. Throughout the seminar, I learned that these would be the necessary routes to work in this field through the regional theatre, playbill, and informational interviews.
One interesting seminar was by Dr. Meredith M. Johnson on how to change your style regarding roles and to act. The three most important rules are pronunciation, key, and embellishment depending on your role as an actor, whether opera, Broadway, Shakespearean, stage play, etc. Each of these rules plays a vital role as an actor as a public speaker. When preparing to speak or sing, analyzing, feeling, and learning your voice is essential in developing your style.
Finally, I attended a STACK seminar to understand the approaches to directing presented by David Ian Lee. Essentially this presentation was created to help aspiring directors start their path. One helpful piece of advice taken from this was the need to understand that your first draft is never your final one and if you don’t like how something is, always try to find a new way to interpret your vision. In conclusion, the Festival offered me another perspective of the roles that media may play in society.