January 16, 2009

Spotlight on…Brandy Caldwell

In Regent’s recent production of The Cherry Orchard, third-year MFA student Brandy Caldwell performed the role of Lyubov in fulfillment of her MFA thesis project. Brandy, a South Carolina native, has been a fixture on the Regent stage throughout her residency in the MFA program. She has played such memorable roles as Jack’s Mother in Into the Woods, Catherine Petkoff in Arms and the Man, and Margot in The Diary of Anne Frank. While the Regent theatre community has come to know her remarkable talents well, this summer one of the most prestigious professional theatres in the country also took notice.

Celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, the Berkshire Theatre Festival is one of the oldest and most respected regional theatres in the country. Located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the Berkshire Theatre Festival has hosted such notable actors as Ethel Barrymore, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, and Gene Hackman. Through a highly competitive selection process, Brandy was chosen as one of a handful of promising young actors to join their apprenticeship program this summer. While there, Brandy was vigorously trained in the Suzuki method, took many theatre classes taught by high-profile theatre professionals, and had the opportunity to play Hera in Hercules and understudy the role of Alice More in A Man for All Seasons. The company was so impressed with Brandy that she was invited back to play the role of The Ghost of Christmas Past in their annual production of A Christmas Carol.

When asked about her experience this past summer, Brandy responded: “I was gifted with a greater understanding for people, and I now live with an even greater desire to love other artists within the theatre. My training at Regent provided a foundation for me in the midst of a challenging environment with gifted actors all around me. I was completely confident in my process, molded through my most precious MFA faculty! My time at BTF was affirmation that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I was created to be an actor and to love others with that same passion, to serve a community through story.”

Brandy’s experience this Christmas at BTF was equally rewarding. She had this to say about her most recent opportunity at BTF:

'I am currently playing The Ghost of Christmas Past and The Laundress in BTF’s Production of A Christmas Carol. Performing this play in the Berkshires during the holiday season is exceptionally dreamy. I am working alongside many talented child actors, which creates a different dynamic from the casts I am used to. This adjustment causes me to arrive at the theatre early in order to have the preparation time that I need. I am most thankful for the training in the Linklater, Chekhov, Meisner, and Lugering technique that I have received at Regent University. I have pulled from each of these in creation of these roles. I also greatly appreciate my mentor Mark Paladini as he is available to give advice and encouragement whenever I need it. Both he and Michael Kirkland were so supportive and met with me before rehearsals began to encourage my work on objectives and story structure. I am so incredibly grateful that I have these teachers’ insight, wisdom, and constant prayer! This production is also one of my first experiences working with extremely seasoned actors, with a wealth of knowledge and experience. There is a professionalism that we adhere to that makes for a spectacular working environment. Also, during this time of economic crisis I am thankful to read our playbill where the executive director Kate Maguire has written, “All of us at The Berkshire Theatre Festival are very grateful to be inspired by the remarkable spirit of this play, particularly at this point in our own story. The times we find ourselves in are certainly presenting enormous challenges and though much seems uncertain, our determination to continue to present great work is firm.” This incredibly unique community of artists is a group of compassionate people seeking excellence in everything we do. Kate Maguire leads the way as she creates an environment where dignity is for all. We are all exceptionally blessed to be working here. '

Click here for a review of BTF’s Christmas Carol, with mention of our own Brandy Caldwell!

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