By: C.A. PRINTUP
Freshman Kendra Turner, 19, and Jack Saunders, 18, made it to the top 16 groups out of approximately 175 groups at the annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCATCF) on Tuesday January 10, 2017.
“It’s like this big conference thing that they have in different places each year,” Saunders said. “This year it was held in Indianapolis, and it’s basically a whole bunch of actors, young actors, who are going together to compete against each other. We’re all competing, trying to be number one. The person who gets number one gets to go to Washington D.C. and perform at the Kennedy Center for the national rank.”
Officials from KCATCF attend performances across the Midwest, and from each production they nominate two performers to go to the state level. Turner was chosen for “Shape of Things.” Turner asked Saunders to be her partner after working with him in “Opus.” At the conference, Turner and Saunders performed a scene from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream,” and “Mental Reservation” by Roger Cornish, and Turner performed a monologue from Jim Leonard Jr.’s “The Diviner’s.”
“It was really a great experience, honestly,” Turner said. “I got exposure to a lot of different things. While I was there, I not only did the Irene Ryan Competition but I also did the NTI program in intensive musical theatre, where I was able to do an intensive in both singing and dancing, which is ultimately what I want to be doing professionally acting singing and dancing. So, it was a really great experience. There were so many workshops and classes that you can do and [it] just exposes you [to] a lot of different things.”
According to the KCACTF website, there are three rounds. Turner and Saunders made it to the third and final round.
“We were both very pleased that we made it that far,” Turner said. “I was totally fine with it. When they announced it, we were shocked that we got to the round that got 45 people, but they cut it by a third. So we were really happy. And I don’t think either of us were really expecting to go any further and they go ‘Indiana University of South Bend, Kendra Turner.’ I don’t even think we screamed or really celebrated we were just, like, kind of confused and shocked. It was funny.”
The fact that they were going as freshmen was not lost on them either.
“It’s cool that we got to go as freshmen,” Saunders said. “But as far as we got to go as freshmen was really unreal.”
Turner and Saunders are in the current spring productions at Indiana University South Bend, “The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”
“I’m really excited at what’s going to come in the future,” Turner said, “and hopefully I’ll be able to do KCATCF in the future. It was a really awesome experience.”