For The Love Of It


Sandi Westrand, Staff Writer

The love of acting compels these students to abandon their own personalities and assume a completely different persona.


An exuberant and talented cast of nine Grossmont students cavorted about to a captive audience at the campus Stagehouse Theatre on Friday evening. The production of Inside the Actor’s Process: “Monsters, Magic and Mischief” is an exhilarating display of how actors are able to transform into repulsive and mythical being with common human traits.

This is the 14th year the Grossmont College Theatre Arts department has coordinated with regional high schools and other theatrical professionals according to Alexis Popko, the department’s operations facilitator.

Coordinator Benjamin Cole, adjunct professor and the director of the North Coast Repertory Theatre, confirmed that the purpose of the program is to expose the students to theater performance versus method acting as portrayed in films.

“Stage acting is live because you speak directly to and interact with the audience,” Cole said. “There are no retakes; this is real acting.”

It was a short presentation that did not flaunt elaborate makeup and costumes or special effects. Instead, the actors improvised to become monstrosities with their raw talent. Sans makeup, clad in black with minimal use of costume pieces and props, the actors transformed the stage into a kaleidoscope of sabbat witchery, Shakespearean drama, frivolity and mythical monsters with conflicting human qualities. The actors vocalized auditory special effects to illustrate emotions of fear, repulsion, ridicule and isolation interspersed with displays for affinity, acceptance, tolerance and affection despite being “different.” There was never a dull moment, as audience members were called upon to join the fun.

Some actors were available to answer impromptu questions. Kevin Rupe, who has participated in the program three times, said he has definite plans to succeed as a stage actor. “I just love it,” he said. “We only had a short time to get ready and the support and assistance from the other actors and the director was great help.”

Symonne Still and Morgan Bain, third-year participants, agreed with Rupe’s sentiments and ambitions.

This was the first performance for Stephen Foo, a newcomer to Grossmont and acting. He agreed the camaraderie and assistance of the fellow actors enriched his confidence and performance. Foo also plans to continue in Theatre Arts.

The performance was repeated on Saturday afternoon and evening to provide a preview of the upcoming features for the semester. Check out the upcoming play, “Spring Awakening,” debuting on March 14 Tickets are available at the Stage House Theatre box office or online.