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Mitchell Weindorf ’13, fell in love with acting his junior year of high school while playing the character Fagan in his school’s production of Oliver! He will never forget the sensation of epiphany that he felt while on stage.
“I had the feeling that I was able to help them forget about their troubles and their worries for the evening, and enjoy what I was doing,” Mitchell said. “You don’t get that feeling anywhere else. At that point, I knew I had to delve deeper into this field.”
And so, he did. Mitchell toured and auditioned at multiple schools but found that Carthage had the “it factor” that the rest were missing.
“The moment I arrived on the campus, I felt as if I was in a different world,” Mitchell said. “The location on the lake and the beauty of the nature all around drew me in and gave me the feeling that this place was different.”
Besides its beautiful campus, Carthage’s Theatre Department made him feel welcomed starting at his first audition. He never felt as though he was being rushed through the audition process, and he could tell that the professors that he was meeting with had a genuine interest in his goals and accomplishments.
Now that he is a student, Mitchell has cultivated relationships with these same professors.
“I have built strong, lasting relationships with my professors within the department that I know will last a lifetime,” he said. “These relationships are at a personal level. The professors care about me as a student, but mainly as a person. If one of them notices that I am in a funk or a weird mood, they show genuine concern. I have sought out help from the faculty outside of class and they were more than happy to help me on their own free time.”
Outside of seeking guidance from Carthage faculty, Mitchell has seized many other opportunities that have been presented to him through the theatre department. He has had the chance to work with guest artists – including a monologue workshop with a Chicago casting director, a stage combat clinic with professional choreographers and critiques on scene design from industry set designers.
In January, Mitchell will be part of the Carthage contingent that participates in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts American College Theatre Festival. Then, in summer 2012, Mitchell with travel to New York City for a study tour to see performances on Broadway, learn about American art and architecture, and experience the culture of New York City.
But to Mitchell, the greatest opportunity has been the diversity of his education. Although he is studying theatre performance, he has taken classes in scenic carpentry, stage management, lighting, directing, design and other areas of theatre production.
“In my short time here, I have learned about and had the opportunity to participate in all aspects of theater,” he said. “These skills make me more valuable in the professional world and have already opened up a variety of doors for me. The opportunities constantly present themselves to students in the department, all they have to do is reach out and take them.”
My goal is to become a professional stage actor.
“My favorite professor is John Maclay. He has been one of my biggest motivators while working through some tough classes and periods in my college career. He has taken time out of his busy schedule to help me with monologues, giving advice for the professional world, and to just talk about life in general.”
“My toughest class is directing. It challenges me daily to think critically and manage a variety of aspects. The work-load isn’t the easiest, but the reward from the work done is definitely worth it. In this class, I have been able to explore a different element of theater that I believe will help me in my acting.”
“I am currently involved in Delta Upsilon as the Vice President for Member Education. This organization has given me the opportunity to be a leader outside of the theater world and to share what I love with them. I am also a founding member of the Carthage Neil-Futurists, a member of the honorary theatre fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega, and a member of Alpha Lambda Delta.”
Favorite moments at Carthage
“I can’t really pinpoint one favorite moment at Carthage so far. For me, my favorite moments have been all the success that I have had in the theater field. I was nervous pursuing this field because of all the failure stories I heard. Excelling in not only acting, but a variety of other aspects has been uplifting to me. It always puts a smile on my face to think about everything I have accomplished so far and to think about what I could accomplish before I graduate.”
Biggest surprise so far?
“The biggest surprise for me is how involved I have become in the department and everything I have gotten from it. Coming to Carthage, I knew that I would leave with a solid understanding of acting and should be equipped to handle the professional world. I never thought that I would have the skills to successfully pursue other aspects of theater professionally if I desired. It is really neat to know that, if I don’t succeed in one thing, I can pursue something else in the same field that I enjoy, and not have to try to figure out a whole new world.”
Advice for other students considering your major
“This major is what you make of it. If you are willing to put in time, effort and take hold of the opportunities that are offered, you will get your money’s worth and more.”