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Reasons vary for taking acting class

Christina Proctor
Pat Leonard-Heffner / Lake Tahoe Community College/ Eleni Monos, left, and Briana Biller perform a scene from "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" for their final exam last week.
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College students usually take an acting class for one of three reasons:

1. They need an easy arts and humanities credit.

2. It’s something they always wanted to do and never had the courage.

3. It is their passion.

Carrie Hall, 20, a student in Lake Tahoe Community College’s fall quarter Introduction to Acting class, doesn’t fall into any of those categories. Hall, a serious snowboarder from Rhode Island, is studying graphic design. She didn’t realize she had signed up for an acting class until she showed up the first day. She was too scared to leave. What she found was possibly, like her instructor Mark Williams says, “The most important class she will take in college.”

“This class was pretty fun and it is probably my favorite class right now,” Hall said after finishing her final acting scene recently. “It has taught me how to behave as a person and how to respond to other people. It has helped me understand that not everyone responds to things the same way I do.”

Williams said he tailors the class to each student’s interests.

“I make a point to find out students’ goals and give them more than they expect,” he said. “Obviously they get the thing about increased self-confidence. But the things you learn in acting class translate well for whatever you do later in life. I tell the students I expect them to be here, be here on time and always tell the truth.”

Briana Biller, 17, has been acting in local theater since the age of 7. Her last role on stage was in the LTCC’s fall production of “The Crucible,” where she played Mary Warren. Biller is a full-time student at LTCC this year and independent study at South Tahoe High School. She will graduate from the high school in 2006.

Biller said she plans to major in theater arts and then see if she can get work after she gets out.

“I’m used to being around people who are really passionate about theater to the point of being obsessive,” Biller said. “It’s been fun to take this class and watch people who aren’t serious about it really enjoying themselves.”

Williams said students usually come away from the class with at least two “aha” moments.

“It might be the ability to see that there are many truths and many points of view, or maybe it is that they did something they never thought they could do. From that they realize that there is really nothing they can’t do.”

Nineteen-year-old Brandon McCarthy had never seen a theater production before taking the acting course. He wants to be a film director. When asked what was the one thing he was taking away, McCarthy’s response was, “That I’m going to be taking more acting courses. I’ve always been kind of shy person and I’m not as shy anymore.”

McCarthy’s acting partner for the final, Karyn Pineda, a 20-year-old who plans to be a teacher, said she would recommend an acting course to anyone.

“It ended up making me more open with my emotions and made me more comfortable in front of people,” she said.

And remember Hall, the graphic design snowboarder, who didn’t realize she had signed up for an acting course. She even auditioned for the fall play.

Theater classes offered this winter:

Introduction to acting; M,W 11 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.

Fundamentals of Acting: Movement; T, TH 10-11:50 a.m.

Actor’s Workshop; M 6-9:50 p.m.

Sign up for classes online at http://www.ltcc.edu by Jan. 3, the start of winter quarter.


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