Thomas Kelley is a 2nd year institute student at A.R.T. / MXAT. I asked him to chat with me about his experiences working on Donnie Darko with Marcus Stern and the A.R.T. company members and his reaction to the film.
Taking Marcus Stern’s class last year was one of my favorite experiences in my first year in the institute. The way he works is sensitive, kind and generous. I have come to see that he works the same way in professional setting. The work we do in class is all about you. Whereas, in this professional world the work is about the process, his baby, and you are a part of it. No longer just about your work as an actor, but our work, as a whole, being perfectly integrated into the story. The relationship changes as he takes the embodiment of an actor into the character, while making sure we are all telling the story together.
It is the first time that I feel worthy of being a part of the experience. I have a footing as to how to be a valuable and contributing member of the group as a whole. Seeing members of the company work has taught me a good lesson in being brave and trying different things.
Being in a show that runs for no less than three weeks in performance, feels rewarding because the responses from different audiences is essentially what teaches you the show. In the professional arena it is not about your personal journey, which can make it feel that there is more pressure to get it right. I translate it as playing it safe. To look around and see people who don’t know you and who you will not spend the next two years with is intense. Knowing that what you do will inevitably be their first impression. So that now when you fall on your face it stings more, which is the main reason you are more careful. The training is to learn how to not let yourself become too careful. To fall and know that it is not the end of the world helps you to grow and it teaches us to push ourselves as much as possible. Although it is harder to get back after embarrassing yourself in this process, it strengthens you as an actor and I realize that my skin is getting tougher.
– Lynde Rosario