Story by Rebecca Richardson, Delta reporter
Unlike most college students, when Zak L. McKinney and Ivalea C. Wright finish class for the day, they don’t get to go home and relax, Most of the time, they are rehearsing for an upcoming show at Missouri Valley’s theater. You can find them there many evenings, practicing scene productions with their cast mates.
Zak, a Speech and Theatre senior at MVC from Jefferson City, has been interested in acting since he was only 7 years old. When he first came to Valley, he became more interested in the acting side of theatre and eventually landed a lead role in the musical, “April 11, 1954” which was a drama/comedy written by the cast mates.
His favorite play at MVC was the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” in which Zak had one of the lead roles in vocals. He loved the character he portrayed. He said he related to him. “I could feel the connection was meant to be,” said Zak.
Ivalea M. Wright, General Theatre senior from California, Mo., has done behind-the-scenes work in several of Valley’s theatre productions such as “Heads.” She was also the stage manager of “The Nosemaker’s Apprentice.” Jessica Gagne was the assistant stage manager and, if there was a problem, Jessica answered the questions so Ivalea could manage the lights and sound.
One of the most gratifying tasks about doing theatre productions is seeing all of their hard work and practice culminate in a successful show, said Ivalea. “It’s an awesome feeling to have a full house and to see the audience in awe after a risky performance.” She added,“Nothing can take that away from you.”
With rehearsals most nights from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. and sometimes on the weekends, Zak admitted that he doesn’t have as much free time as he would like, but he said all the hard work is worth it in the end. Zak took the lead role of stage makeup in Valley’s production of “The Nosemaker’s Apprentice” which is something Zak finds fun and challenging at the same time. “I want to make an impression,” said Zak. He wants people to know his eccentric personality and how you can’t take life too seriously.
Juggling school, work, and a social life can be very stressful and difficult for any college student. However, Zak and Ivalea admitted that it is just something a student has to learn to accept and be able to manage if theatre is something that they are truly passionate about. And what about all those lines to memorize? Surprisingly, they said it isn’t as hard as it seems and the skill translates to other classes and comes in handy when studying for tests.
Being a general theatre major takes a lot of time and effort, just like any class or sport, said Ivalea. Having three different jobs and being in charge and running the backstage operations takes lots of practice and motivation. “You have to learn to take constructive criticism,” said Ivalea, “You have to have skin like a gator,” Zak added.
Both aspire to be the best at their craft and with graduation only a semester away. Relaxation however, is not in their near future. Zak sees himself as an administrator and being involved in theatre production in five years. After graduation, Ivalea wants to continue to pursue her theatre production management dreams or open her own children’s theatre in Los Angeles. “Maybe I will see my name in lights one day,” said Ivalea.
As they both walked out of class, they reminisced about the experiences they’ve shared in theatre. And they both will be able to say that they remembered days at the MET.
You will find them walking to class rehearsing lines and practicing for an upcoming play. You’ll notice their arms full of books, but most of all, you will notice how truly passionate they are and how much they love what they do.