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Sharing the Spotlight with the Pros

Return to stage: Students land roles in Huntington’s The Corn Is Green

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In the slide show above, CFA school of theatre students talk about the experience of performing in The Corn Is Green.

Hamlet’s line “The play’s the thing” is often quoted, but the marrying line of the couplet, “wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king,” usually vanishes. Hamlet was trying to trap his father’s killer, and theater large and small always tries to goad an audience — inspiration, agitation, contemplation, anything so long as there’s movement out there. All year, examples of that emerged in and around BU; this week, we revisit some of those “things.”

One of the highlights of Danny Bryck’s senior year was sharing the stage with a Tony-nominated actress and former star of the hit television show Grey’s Anatomy. Not bad for a school of theatre undergraduate.

Bryck performed opposite Kate Burton, the daughter of theater legend Richard Burton, in The Corn Is Green, one of the Huntington Theatre Company’s 2008-2009 productions. “College students don’t generally have the opportunity to share a stage with such a seasoned actor,” says Bryck (CFA’09), “so even though my character is secondary and I don’t have a lot of lines, it’s still a huge deal.”

Bryck was one of four College of Fine Arts school of theatre students involved in the production. Written by Welsh playwright Emlyn Williams in 1938, the play tells the story of idealistic teacher Miss Moffat (Burton), who comes to an impoverished 19th-century Welsh mining town to open its first school. When she meets the gifted but illiterate teenager Morgan Evans, portrayed by Burton’s son, Morgan Ritchie, she vows to transform him from a bully to a scholar.

Because of the Huntington Theatre Company’s affiliation as theater in residence at Boston University, alumni are often part of the cast and crew. But it’s less common for undergraduates to land roles, says Dan Lovley (CFA’09), who had a small role in The Corn Is Green. “The best thing about participating in a mainstage production is working with professional actors,” he says, “because they help me to approach my own way of acting.” Lovley has played bit parts in two previous Huntington productions.

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.

This story originally ran January 22, 2009.

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