Former MHS student makes his acting debut in London

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FORMER Marianas High School student John Nickole Garcia Huevos made his acting debut at a theater in London, England in October.

Huevos is now a junior student at Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota where he is studying Musical Theater Arts. He was among the nine students selected to participate in a study-abroad program sponsored by his university.

Part of the requirement was to stage a play at the New Wimbledon Studio Theatre in London.

Huevos and his group chose to perform “Salvation Road,” a play about a young musician who got involved in a cult.

“We had a good audience attendance,” he said. “I think we averaged around 25 audience members each night.”

They performed for four nights from Oct. 15 through 19.

On the final night, he said the playwright herself, D.W. Gregory, was among the audience members. “She regarded our performance with great satisfaction,” Huevos said.

Besides acting in the play, Huevos was also the production dramaturg.

According to Tim Austin, a professional freelance theatre dramaturg based in North Yorkshire in the U.K., “the main role of a dramaturg is to become the playwright’s representative in the production. That’s to say, it is the job of the dramaturg to know as much about the play, its language and the context surrounding its creation as the original playwright did.”

Huevos said his role as dramaturg “granted me the opportunity to conduct relevant research for the show to enhance our overall performance and production quality.”

He said he worked with their director and professor, Dr. Gary Diomandes, in digging up testimonies, scholarly research, and interviews of current and former cult members.

His theater group, Huevos added, decided to stage “Salvation Road” to “showcase the ‘cultic nature’ of American society in the context of mass media influence.”

He added, “The show is an analogy of how power and deceit are used against one another for one person’s personal gain.”

Feedback

In an email to Diomandes, playwright D.W. Gregory said she was impressed with the production members’ commitment and focus.

“We were very impressed with the performances and still talking about the play the next day,” Gregory stated in her email.

Dr. Jill Aebi-Mytton, a former cult member and now a counseling psychologist, likewise commended the actors and production members for a “powerful performance.”

“I travelled home yesterday with the play running through my head along with plenty of thoughts and reflections. It truly was a wonderful experience,” she said.

“John [Huevos], as dramaturg, has to be hugely congratulated. It was all so well directed in terms of props, lighting, sound etc., and the actors’ performances, too, of course. Very, very well done — I am sure you are going to have a very successful career,” Dr. Aebi-Mytton stated in an email to Diomandes.

“This play should go on tour,” she added. It should be performed in conferences like the counselling psychology conference! It is the nearest we can get to knowing and experiencing what it is like for someone to join a cultic group and the influences on that person, but also how it is for the family who are left. I can talk about it with mental health professionals, but I cannot demonstrate it in the way this play does,” she added.

More acting exposure

Following their London semester, Huevos and his group headed to the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland from Nov. 16 to 30.

Huevos said they attended acting classes for three hours every day. They focused on some notable Irish playwrights such as Marina Carr, Brian Friel, and Samuel Beckett. They also watched theatre shows in Dublin.

On their final day, they performed some scenes from the three Irish playwrights for the Gaiety School faculty and students.

Huevos has three semesters left at St. Mary’s University.

“The goal is to complete my education and attend auditions for different repertory companies in search of full-time actors for their companies,” he said. “I have always been a storyteller. There’s a simple joy in telling someone a good story and seeing how it affects them.”

Huevos also plans to attend a master’s program for arts administration and then return to Saipan to inspire another generation of storytellers.

 

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