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Coolidge: Student of theatre, actress with plan
Jessica Kenyon
Antelope Staff
Photo by Alex Morales
Sophomore Kelsey Coolidge from Indianola, right, performed in last month’s UNK theatre production, “Almost Maine.” Coolidge had three different parts in the play and said of her roles, "Each one is completely different and going through her own unique story of love."

What was your recent production and what was your role?

Our performance was called “Almost, Maine.” The setting is a Friday night, during the winter season, in Maine. It follows stories of different people falling in and out of love. This show allows people to see how crazy love is and how it can affect people in so many different ways. It was directed by Janice Fronczak.
I had three different roles in this production: Ginette, the waitress and Marci. Each one is completely different and going through her own unique story of love.
 
When did you start acting?

My first theatrical experience was in junior high. I performed for a traveling theatre company which came to a neighboring community. I played the part of an urchin in “Pinocchio.” It was the first time I was on stage, and after that small role I knew I wanted more. I performed in all the productions during my four years of high school.

What productions have you been in?

My freshman and sophomore years (high school) I played smaller roles in “The Perils of Lulu and Puberty: The Game Show.”  My junior year, I played one of the main characters in “Radio TBS.” Mary Eunice was the trailer park busybody, and that role was my absolute favorite. I received outstanding performance acting awards at conference, district and state competitions. Our school took that show to State One-Act in 2006, and I performed for the first time on the UNK campus in the Miriam Drake Theatre. My senior year, we performed “High School Musical.” I had a smaller role, and it was the first time I was in a musical, but I enjoyed it just the same. All four years I enjoyed the time I was on stage.

Last December, I performed the role of Christine in a 10-minute play at the Frank House. The play, “You Wouldn’t Believe,” was written by Carey Teters, the stage manager for “Almost, Maine.” It was my first collegiate acting experience.

Were you always a theatre major?

I wasn’t a theatre major when I first came to UNK, but after my first year away from the theatre I knew I needed to get back to it. I changed my major to business administration and theatre and have really enjoyed getting back to what I love.

Why do you enjoy acting and what do you do it for?

I love the theatre because you can be a completely different person on stage, and it is perfectly fine. Also, I get to use my creative side and do things I never thought I could have before.  I get to sew, put on fun makeup and build sets. Learning the performing and technical sides of the theatre arts will help me toward my ultimate goal of theatre management.
 
Has anyone inspired you?

I can’t say I am inspired by just one person. My family and friends inspire me to work hard and be successful. My teachers and coaches have always challenged me to do the best I can.  My older sister has always inspired me to strive to be the best I can be, and I thank them all for everything they have done for me.
 
Do you want to pursue acting after school?

 After school my goals are to do more of the behind-the-scenes work for the theatre. My ultimate goal is to manage a theatre house. I do enjoy acting, and hopefully I will be able to do some acting along with the managing. I am not planning on strictly being an actor, but right now I am pretty open to whatever is thrown my way.
 
Is your family interested in acting? Do they support you?
 My family is so awesome. They support anything and everything I do, and they are always there for me. For “Almost, Maine” my parents drove four hours to come see me perform.  I wouldn’t say my family is interested in all the details of the theatre, but they do understand that I enjoy it so they have become interested in it for me. My family is so close, and I am so lucky to have parents who want me to follow my dreams and are always cheering me on.
 
Why did you choose to be involved in “Almost, Maine?”

I hadn’t been involved in a main production here at UNK, but this sounded like a fun show to do. I had never worked in a black box theatre like this before and thought it would be good experience.
I heard about the auditions and decided I might as well try it. I was lucky and got chosen to be part of the cast for this show. I have enjoyed all the time I have spent on this show and am looking forward to doing more in the future.
 
Are there any clubs/activities that you are involved with at UNK or outside of school?

I am involved with Circle K, a community service organization. It is the collegiate level of Kiwanis. I am the Golden Age Prom coordinator and put together a dance for older members of the community. I have always enjoyed giving back, and this is a perfect group for that. I also work in the athletic office here on campus. So between classes, the athletic office, the theatre and Circle K I am pretty busy.
 
 Is there something about you that most people wouldn’t expect?

When I first thought about going to college, I was considering going into mortuary science. I have sat in on an autopsy and have even held a human brain. It is fun to tell people this and see the look on their face. It is always my fun fact for ice breaker games.
 
What is the best part about acting and being involved with productions at UNK?

The theatre department is like a family.  All the professors are so helpful, and they all enjoy what they do. This makes me enjoy what I am doing.  The atmosphere is so friendly and with every production I will be able to learn something new and get to experience something different to help me achieve my educational and career goals.

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