Monday, February 10, 2014

VPA Student Spotlight: Kate Van Susante

Kate Van Susante has a dual major in Theatre & Electronic Media Performance, and in Scientific & Technical Communications, Digital Media Emphasis. She comes to Tech already holding Bachelors and Masters degrees in Vocal Performance. Last semester, she was seen playing the role of Kate in Brighton Beach Memoirs, and this semester she will be seen in our upcoming production of Amahl and the Night Visitors.

1. Why did you choose to major in Theatre and Electronic Media Performance at Tech?

I always wanted to major in theatre. I initially got degrees in music performance because I was offered scholarship money, but my first love was acting on the stage. When my husband got a job here at Tech, I jumped at the chance to go back to school in theatre. I was particularly drawn by the unique use of technology offered by the department. I've seen schools that offer degrees in acting for screen and voice over work, and I've seen schools offer acting for stage, but this was the first time I'd seen the combination. Having a solid base in diverse styles of acting is really important if you want to maximize your opportunities for work.

2. What has been your favorite part of working in Theatre and Electronic Media Performance?

I have to pick just one? People and learning. Being on stage with a variety of students and community members, learning from everyone. I don't think there is a single person from whom I haven't learned something. It's exhilarating when I think of it.

3. What is the most important thing you have learned in your major?

I have learned to be more comfortable with myself. I've been a very self-conscious person my whole life, and hated listening to myself sing, seeing videos of myself doing anything. I had to learn the hard way (and it was really tough), and it's still a work in progress, but I am now able to listen and watch without focusing on ME...instead focusing on fixing or tweaking my PERFORMANCE which is the point of the whole thing. As Popeye said, "I yam what I yam."

4. What inspires you?

Sometimes it seems like everything! I'm inspired by great performances, whether on stage, screen or even athletics. I'm inspired by every day things - the ability to create a beautiful garden or craft or cook. Sometimes it's just watching people interact with each other. My fellow VPA students often inspire me, and astonish me by how positive and hard working they are. They do some really amazing things, whether they're big or little, and I can see the difference it makes to a performance or a project. I guess a simple, one word answer would be creation. Creation inspires me.

5. What are your goals after graduation?

Ooh, the tough question. I have so many goals! I want to stay working on stage, but I'd also like to delve further into voice over work. I've discovered I really enjoy that. I participated in filming the local indie film "Mutt," and I'd like to do more movie work. Mostly my major goal is to act, no matter what the medium.

6. What advice would you give others hoping to major in Theatre and Electronic Media Performance?

Come prepared to work hard, but don't be surprised that it doesn't always seem like hard work! Be fearless, ask questions, ask for and give support, have fun.