By: C. Harold Pierce
Theatre students step onto the stage and in front of the camera, many for their first time
Without a script or the benefit of rehearsals, Dominique Collins walks into the center stage spotlight of the Black Box Theatre, seamlessly transitioning between Indian and American accents exchanging raunchy sexual banter with his scene partner.
While Collins finds comfort on stage, the hot lights, director, boom and camera are completely foreign to him. He’s in production for a Web series.
Collins and a group of student actors are catching a break of a lifetime — the chance to act in a professionally produced show.
“I’ve never been in a production like this before, so I tried to take in everything and see everything. I didn’t know what was going to happen. It was exciting,” Collins said.
After watching the Theatre Arts Department’s production of American Soldier last fall, New York-based director Matt Morillo was impressed enough to approach Chris Cannon for a collaboration with the department to produce a Web series based on his stage play Angry Young Women in Low-Rise Jeans with High-Class Issues.
Breaking into the entertainment industry can be challenging. Many aspiring actors spend a thankless lifetime waiting tables and tending bars in trendy hot spots just to get a look.
But during the summer, two Santa Ana College theater students earned membership eligibility for the Screen Actors Guild after spending hours filming roles in the sexually charged Web adaptation of Morillo’s play.
SAG is a labor union for actors requiring at least three days of acting work and an initiation fee of $3,000 to join.
About a dozen SAC students made their on-screen debuts with no script. But it wasn’t that easy. They had to draw from improv techniques learned in class.
“The intent is to do more work like this and if we’re invited back, continue working with Santa Ana College’s very talented actors,” Producer Jessica Moreno said.
While many student actors exited their comfort zones, they delivered edgy material ranging from lesbians desperate for threesomes to talking about funky smelling private parts.
“They went to some very controversial and provocative and risqué material and did it with such integrity and authenticity,” Moreno said.