Showing posts from July, 2020

Leading with an Open Heart: An Interview with LeRoy S. Graham III

By Claire L. Wong and Alejandra Maria Rivas LeRoy S. Graham III was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, he first got into the arts through dance and musical theater in school. He studied theater and psychology at City College of New York, and after graduating, explored acting outside of life as a student. He started auditioning for graduate acting programs at 25 and was accepted into A.C.T.’s MFA Program when he was 27. “I felt like I knew what I wanted to go in and pursue that time,” he says. The thought of moving to San Francisco away from family was daunting at first, but he was drawn to A.C.T.’s training. “There’s the focus on developing the artist as a whole,” Graham says. “From the callback weekend I felt at home. I felt this could be the place for me for the next three years.” LeRoy S. Graham III. Photo by Deborah Lopez. What has your experience in the MFA Program been like? One of the biggest things that I’ve gained from being at A.C.T is developin

Snail Slime and Other Secrets: 'Great Leap' Actors Reveal Their Pre-Show Routines

By Annie Sears Being an actor means a lot of preparation: researching the play’s context and analyzing character motivations, attending costume fittings and spending hours in blocking rehearsals. Another important prep step not often revealed? Pre-show skincare. Stage makeup is heavier than day-to-day makeup, often causing allergic reactions, breakouts, and dryness—which nobody wants, especially someone who stands under stage lights every day. So how are actors in  The Great Leap  (running through March 31 at The Geary) making sure their faces are stage-ready? BD Wong (playing Wen Chang) is a fan of hyaluronic acid. Sounds a little scientific and sterile—like something you definitely do  not  want soaking into your skin, right? It’s actually entirely natural. Our skin cells produce hyaluronic acid on their own, but we could all use a little extra to even skin tone and decrease the appearance of lines and wrinkles. “It makes it possible for this character to be 24 years old at the

Preparation and Play: An Interview with Jeff Wittekiend

By Claire L. Wong and Alejandra Maria Rivas Before moving to San Francisco for A.C.T.’s MFA Program, Jeff Wittekiend had lived in Texas his whole life. He grew up outside of Austin in Burnet (population 6,000), studied theater at Baylor University in Waco, then moved to Dallas to continue acting. “I was doing bigger and bigger regional shows, working on my craft, observing people in the world,” he says. “I was trying to figure out what kind of artist I wanted to be.” After deciding to hone that artistry in graduate school, he made the journey to San Francisco. Wittekiend recently graduated from A.C.T.’s MFA Program, and we spoke with him about his experiences. Jeff Wittekiend. Photo by Deborah Lopez. What inspired you to pursue A.C.T.’s MFA Program? When I came to the A.C.T. callback, I felt good about the teachers I met and the classes we had during that weekend. I got to see  A Thousand Splendid Suns  when I was here. It was a book I’d read in high school and just adore

Producing Live Content in the Age of Uncertainty

By Beryl Baker Since San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order went into effect on March 19, A.C.T. Digital Content Producer Beryl Baker has been keeping busy. In addition to turning live productions of Gloria and Toni Stone into streamed films and editing A.C.T.’s InterACT-at-Home videos, Baker also produced Spring Forward, the smash-hit virtual fundraiser that helped sustain our artistic and education and community programs. Baker shares tips on how to produce a successful, virtual, live event in a pandemic.  Baker at work with her cat Lily. Photo by Beryl Baker.  Find out what technology can do for you Talk or reach out to video production experts and trust their advice. Dig deep into understanding what is and isn't possible. Most people don’t realize that technology isn't as ahead of its time as we’re told. While FaceTime and Google Hangouts exist, those are patented products produced by two top tech companies: having video be sent out and received live require

The Full Her: An Interview with Dinah Berkeley

By Claire L. Wong and Alejandra Maria Rivas Dinah Berkeley (she/they) grew up in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb outside of Chicago. After graduating from Ohio University, Berkeley studied in a professional training program at Actors Theatre of Louisville, then moved to New York for a few years. There she became involved with mime, physical theater, and clown, and joined the Broken Box Mime Theater troupe. Berkeley’s focus narrowed to sharpening her acting skills, and after auditioning for graduate programs, she came to A.C.T. Dinah Berkeley. Photo by Deborah Lopez. Can you describe your experience being in the MFA Program? It’s challenged me about what kind of artist I want to be, how I want to present myself. What kind of work I want. I’ve had to be open to things that I might feel resistance to and trust that if I do the work and if it’s not serving me, I can put it aside. But I won’t know that answer until I commit to fully trying. What’s your favorite part of the Progra