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Local graduate students master the art of theater

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photo: UT mfa actors
photo: UT mfa actors

The first group of students from UT's newly restructured Master of Fine Arts program for actors is set to graduate with high hopes.

"I’m more confident," says Deepti Gupta, a student in the group. "I know that I can go out and do the work that I want to do. So I think LA and New York now seem like a good logical step."

Three years ago, these 18 students were selected by audition from a wide pool of applicants to test drive this unique program, which admits students only every three years. The students in the program work closely with each other in an ensemble setting and form a close bond.

photo: UT mfa actors"It’s been three years of 14 to 16 hour days with the same 17 people getting pretty intimate with one another emotionally and getting to know our histories and backgrounds and working sometimes under very stressful conditions so I think saying good-bye to some of these people will be somewhat difficult," says student Tommy Schoffler. ". . . There is also uh kind of the excitement of seeing them later. There’s the knowledge that we’ll all be in the field we’ll all be out there teaching and writing and directing and acting and doing all of those things together so that I can say, 'Hey I’m in L.A. and I’m doing this crazy review and Alexis is going to be around so why you know why don’t you come see it or be in it or direct it?' or whatever so, while it’s sad to sort of let this place go, knowing that some the connections I’ve made here will hopefully carry on out into the real world. I take some solace in that."

As part of the culmination of the program, the students are presenting a showcase of their work in New York and Los Angeles. All of the students will present short scenes highlighting their talents in hopes of gaining representation after graduation.

photo: UT mfa actors"I suppose best case scenario would be that I would find an agent in New York who is really interested in signing me on and sending me out immediately for work that I would go and I would get uh recurring role on Law and Order or some show that they film in New York that then in the summer time would open me up to go and do theatre that I love," says Schoffler.

"I’d say that it is its going to be very stressful the next two to three weeks for everybody and the only thing I can remind myself to do is stay open to whatever is going to happen and just do your best because nothing is in my hands," says Gupta. "You know I can only this who I am and this is what I can I bring you know. Either people want that or not."


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Tristan Becker is currently a student at the Universtity of Texas studying Radio, Television, and Film. She hopes to graduate in December of 2004 and seek employment as a producer.

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