Theatre Production, History
Laurel McKenzie has had a passion for theatre from a very young age and enjoys being given the opportunity to study with the supportive faculty at Carthage. “Neil Scharnick has really influenced how I process theatre. He is energetic, interesting, and invested in his students’ successes,” she said.
Laurel loves having a chance to be involved in theatre and performance at Carthage, both in and out of the classroom. “I spend most of my time outside of class and rehearsal with the Carthage Merely Players improvisational comedy troupe, which is a great way to unwind,” she said. “I’ve meant some of my closest friends thanks to MP. I’m also a member of the Neil-Futurists, another performance group.”
“For students who can’t squeeze in a semester or year abroad but still want that international experience, the J-Term trips are a great opportunity.”
“Working in theatre any way I can. Ideally stage managing, dramaturgy, or writing.”
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“Neil Scharnick, my coursework adviser, adviser for my two favorite organizations on campus, and the professor of my Play Reading and Analysis class, has really influenced how I process theatre. He is energetic, interesting, and invested in his students’ successes.”
“So far I’ve really enjoyed Play Reading and Analysis. It’s a great introduction to the many styles of theatre, and it always calls for a good discussion.”
“I spend most of my time outside of class and rehearsal with the Carthage Merely Players improvisational comedy troupe, which is a great way to unwind. I’ve meant some of my closest friends thanks to MP. I’m also a member of the Neil-Futurists, another performance group, and I’m the managing humanities editor of the Vanguard.”
“Acting I. I’m not an actress by any means. Still I appreciate the department’s commitment to giving students a broad theatrical education, regardless of your major or emphasis.”
Opportunities at Carthage
“I spent a month studying abroad in Spain for J-Term last year, which was a fantastic experience. For students who can’t squeeze in a semester or year abroad but still want that international experience, the J-Term trips are a great opportunity. And this summer I’ll be going to Scotland with the cast and crew of No Name to perform at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh.”
Favorite moments and memories at Carthage
“Staying up late in the Union or exploring the beach with friends; calling the thunder and lightning cue so it perfectly timed with the villain’s entrance during a performance of ‘No Name’; finding the perfect piece of evidence for my history paper after hours scrolling through microfilm; impromptu walks around campus.”
Favorite spot on campus
“Either Woh’s Place in the TWC or the studio theatre in Straz.”
Biggest surprise so far
“How windy it can be here. Also how many organizations there are on campus. And I don’t think I could have ever predicted how rewarding it is to get involved!”
What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?
“Considering I wanted to be a scientist, architect, and the first female President of the United States, I’d say I would be a little shocked. But theatre has always been a big part of my life, so I think my 8-year-old self would understand. I think the biggest shocker would be minoring in Spanish. I think I tried to swear it off four or five times during my formative education.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“Get involved and be prepared to learn about every aspect of theatre. Enjoy yourself and throw yourself into the work – the more you put in, the more you get out. And always be on time for call!”