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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

BFA acting seniors demonstrate skills in digital Senior showcase

BFA+Acting+2024+graduates%2C+who+will+preimere+their+digital+showcase+Saturday+in+Kleists+Mainstage+Theatre+for+the+BW+and+Berea+community.
Bjorn Bolinder
BFA Acting 2024 graduates, who will preimere their digital showcase Saturday in Kleist’s Mainstage Theatre for the BW and Berea community.

Baldwin Wallace University’s senior BFA acting students will dazzle BW and Berea audiences with the world premiere of their filmed showcase Saturday in Kleist’s Mainstage Theatre.

The BFA Acting Senior Showcase encapsulates the seniors’ experience at BW and requires them to use all the acting training and work done in the past four years to create a filmed product that will be sent to talent agents, managers and other professionals in the acting industry.

Assistant professor of theatre Matt Koenig produced and co-directed this digital showcase with the students. He said that creating a filmed showcase is a beneficial way for students to send out their work to multiple industry professionals in different parts of the country.

“I have been in communication with various agents and artistic directors and managers that I know throughout my career,” Koenig said. “The hope is that my students get work … and to get something for a reel, so that in the future they are able to — year after year — send this in to agents.”

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The digital showcase provides a tangible representation of all the work that the students have put into their undergraduate degree. And, by sending the showcase to industry professionals across the country, they will have the opportunity to build connections.

“Sometimes showcase lives on a singular scale where it ends as soon as the showcase is over,” Koenig said. “The issue with a lot of training programs is that people leave better performers … but what they don’t leave with are connections to the industry and the understanding of how to network. … If we can’t do that, I think we’re failing as an institution.”

The students will each show two scenes that highlight their strengths as actors and play to their most marketable talents.

BFA acting senior Ruah Uhlman said that the students had to pinpoint their “type,” describing the concept as “how agents or managers or casting directors would see us just at first glance.”

“In our acting classes, it’s all about exploring your range and how far you can go,” Uhlman said. “But when we’re doing our showcase and specifically marketing ourselves to … people in the industry, you have to be more specific about who you are and what the best qualities you can give.”

However, Uhlman said the process of finding her type was challenging, and she felt a bit restricted after exploring different styles for four years.

“I sometimes felt like by doing that, I was letting go of other parts of myself … but I’m proud and excited about the things that I have found,” Uhlman said.

The students each did one scene that focuses on stage acting, which highlights their technical training and connection with the other actors in the scenes. The other scene focuses on film acting, which is better suited to the digital medium of the showcase. These two scenes further showcase the students’ acting range.

Students collaborated with each other in the scenes, ensuring that the characters they were portraying accurately fit the type they wanted to show off to the industry. In order to do this, many of the scenes were either completely written by students or adapted from existing sources.

“We didn’t want to take really well known plays or material … so we took the ideas from actors or things that are already out there, and then rewrote them for ourselves,” Uhlman said. “They’re very specific to us, so it’s really showcasing the best parts of ourselves.”

Though students entered filming with well-rehearsed scenes, Koenig said he wanted to leave room for spontaneity and let the actors step out of the exact text because he finds value in improvisation.

“Once we got the scene the way that we wanted it, I said, ‘We’re gonna do one more and now play around, say whatever you want. Do the thing that you’re secretly wanting to do.’” Koenig said. “Those were the takes that, as we’re editing, we’re gonna use much more frequently.”

Now nearing graduation, Uhlman said she is very grateful for the education and opportunities that BW has given her. She said she is able to leave the program with a “new deep knowledge” of acting and confidence in her skills.

“I can see such a difference in myself as an actor from freshman year when I came here to now,” Uhlman said. “Now, as I graduate, I definitely consider myself a professional actor. I know and have the skills to go out and audition and work with people and perform on the stage or the screen.”

Koenig said he is very grateful to have worked with this group of students and that they have trusted him in leading their group to the next stage of their careers.

Uhlman said she wants to thank the other BFA acting students for making her BW experience one that she will fondly look back upon, and she is excited to see what the future has in store for them.

“I’m just really proud of my class,” Uhlman said. “Everyone in my class really cares about each other, and that’s made the world of difference going through a really hard four-year program. It’s been very special, and I think our BFA class has something really special.”

The BW BFA Acting Senior Showcase premieres on campus for a one-night-only event on April 27 at 8 p.m. in the Mainstage Theatre in Kleist Center for Art & Drama. Video access of the showcase will go live on April 29. For more information on the event, visit bwbfashowcase.com

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