Mentorship in Action: Horton Foote's Tomorrow

By Nathan Correll and Elspeth Sweatman

“I relate to Horace, Jr. more than any other character I’ve had the privilege of playing,” says Young Conservatory actor Nathan Correll about Horton Foote’s The Actor, one of two short plays that make up Tomorrow, which runs April 18–22 at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater. “First, I was born in Houston, Texas, and lived around the same area as this character. Second, I grew up around a family that wasn’t exactly used to the idea of having an actor in the family, though they believed in me a lot earlier than Horace’s parents do.”

YC actor Nathan Correll in Punk Rock, 2016.
Photo by Jay Yamada.
The Actor, commissioned by the YC, is an autobiographical play that tells the story of Foote’s own reckoning as a teenager. Growing up in Depression-era Texas with the dream of becoming an actor, Horace must stick to his convictions amidst ridicule from his peers and fear of failure from his parents.

Paired with The Actor is another of Foote’s short plays, Blind Date. Hilarious and unflinchingly honest, it imagines a meeting of two fragile teens manipulated by adults with personal agendas and offers up a world where teenagers are wiser and more grounded than the adults.

The adults in both of these plays are played by two A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program actors. “Working with the M.F.A. Program actors has been an amazing experience,” says Correll. “From the table-read to the scene-partner work, they amaze and wow me every second. Their work ethic and complete emotional and physical commitment to the work has been inspiring. In my final monologue as Horace, I talk about my parents, and the looks in their eyes as I share these memories with them reflect a complete commitment to the text.”

These two short plays are the last A.C.T. show directed by Young Conservatory director Craig Slaight, who retires in May. “Since my first class at A.C.T., Craig has watched and encouraged my work,” says Correll. “It is difficult to put into words how much I have learned and how much I value Craig. He has taught me not only to value the words on the page and the development of my character, but also to recognize and incorporate everything that is happening around me.”

“Playwright Horton Foote was a mentor for Craig and I am proud that Craig is my mentor. I am honored to be a part of Craig’s last directed play as the director of the Young Conservatory and value the connection created and passed down from mentor to student as a continuous connection from past to present. He means the world to me, and no doubt, many others in the theater community.”

Tomorrow runs April 18–22 at The Rueff at A.C.T. Strand Theater, 1127 Market Street, San Francisco. Click here to purchase tickets through our website.

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