by Erica Rabito
Kenyon has 34 dance, drama and film majors, as well as a prominent group of recreational thespians. For a school of under 2,000, this large number of theater enthusiasts can lead to an excess of actors — and a lack of roles for those interested.
Kenyon College Dance and Dramatic Club (KCDC), Brave Potato, StageFemmes and Renegade, all fairly active theater clubs on campus, along with others, present a variety of different shows each semester. Despite this, some students are denied participation in even one show a year.
Being turned away from dozens of auditions a year can be discouraging and leave students lacking experience in their desired fields. Kenyon’s newest theater group, the Amateur Thespians Club, hopes to provide a solution to this problem by allowing in all formerly disappointed and excluded students, and those who are not capable of taking on the commitment of another group.
The Amateur Thespians Club (ATC) was formed by Sonia Calzaretta ’18, Jess(i)e Marino ’18 and Natalie Kane ’18 with these concerns in mind. In an environment where selectivity and exclusivity are common and even give a sense of pride to some groups, ATC aims to be a haven of inclusivity.
ATC co-founder Sonia Calzaretta ’18 believes the group fills a gap in Kenyon’s drama scene. “There’s no opportunity here on campus for people who audition but aren’t quite good enough,” Calzaretta said. “So we’re here to provide a place for those people.”
KCDC, as the main stage theater group on campus, has to turn students away from their productions each semester. The resulting selectivity, according to KCDC President Julia Colpitts ’16, could be due to the tendency of actors and other members of the theater to stay in their comfort zone.
“I think the selectivity arises in casting and designer choices and I think that’s because people tend to work with people they get along with and people they trust,” Colpitts said. “If I’ve personally worked with someone and they don’t do a great job I’m probably not going to work with them again. And that’s not me as the KCDC president. That’s me as a stage manager or a designer.”
The exclusivity of such groups limited the involvement of Dalton White ’16 in theatrical productions during his time on campus.
“Before I came to Kenyon I had mostly just done acting and that’s all I did,” White said. “And the first two years that’s all I focused on auditioning for and I was a bit disappointed because I only got into one show.”
With the addition of ATC, any students who want to practice their passions for theater will be able to do so in a safe and fun environment. White shared his positive thoughts toward the club, and his hopes for their success in the future. “I think it’s a really great idea to have, because Brave Potato, even like three or four years before I came here, they started kind of like that. But that’s kind of where Brave Potato and Renegade grew from — they started their own theater companies in order to incorporate and do what they love,” White said. “If that’s what the people from the Amateur Thespians Club are trying to do, then all power to them really.”