Make The Connection

Theory-to-Practice Grant, ‘Theatermakers Summer Intensive at Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’

May 14, 2015 – by Cole Hatcher

Learn how OWU’s many academic, research, and travel-learning programs prepare students for leadership and global citizenship and help them … Make the Connection.

Kristen Krak (at piano) works with the cast and playwright during a 48-hour rehearsal process as part of her six-week National Theater Institute experience funded by an Ohio Wesleyan Theory-to-Practice Grant. Krak served as music director/composer for the ‘One Act Musicals’ being rehearsed here. (Photo by A. Vincent Scarano)

Name: Kristen Krak ’15
Majors: Theatre and Psychology
Hometown: Granville, Ohio
Experience: Theory-to-Practice Grant, “Theatermakers Summer Intensive at Eugene O’Neill Theater Center”

In summer 2014, Krak attended a National Theater Institute (NTI) summer intensive program at the O’Neill in Waterford, Connecticut.

Lessons Learned: “When people ask about my experience at NTI, it’s hard to find words. But what I usually end up saying is something along the lines of, “life changing.” I learned more about myself in those six weeks than I ever could have imagined. …

“My contemporary acting teacher changed my entire perspective on acting. He gave us new ways to approach a character, new ways to interact with your scene partner, new ideas for rehearsals, and we got to implement those directly with the scenes we worked on with a partner for the entirety of the six weeks. …

“Probably one of the most exciting things for me to try was actually throwing intellect out the window and instead just going for it. We were constantly pushed to do that, especially given our very limited rehearsal time periods for our weekly public performances.

“We didn’t have time to second guess or to overanalyze; we had to follow our gut, throw away all doubts and beliefs of the impossible, and dive in. The most rewarding example of this was actually not through an experience I had acting, but actually through composing a musical.

“I consider myself a decently musical person, but have never written any music, and haven’t touched the piano in eight years. I was terrified when I found out I was the music director/composer for one of the three musicals, but I knew I had to get rid of my inhibitions, follow my gut, and go for it. And I created work that led graduates and professors at the NYU Musical Theater Writing graduate program to encourage me to apply to their school. …

“I wrote something in my (grant) proposal that couldn’t have predicted better… I predicted I would come out of these six weeks ‘not only a better artist, but as a better human; with more passion, more drive, more stability, more compassion, more understanding.’

“Add to that greater confidence, more maturity… the list goes on. I am a different person today because of NTI. I see the world more strongly from an artist’s point of view. I have confidence that I can actually make a life for myself as an artist, and I could not be more excited to see how the relationships I made and the lessons I learned this past summer will continue to affect my life.”