December 08, 2009

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 80, Issue 8

Eric Walsh: Niagara's jack-of-all-trades

Rarely does a non-major brave the theatrical waves and make it to the NU Theatre Department's auditions for the semester. But one person has gone the distance and had it all pay off. Eric Walsh, currently best known for his position of student body president, has been cast as one of the leads in "She Stoops to Conquer," the last NU show of the semester.

Recently, the Index staff got a chance to sit down with him and ask him a few questions about his experience with the show - and how he's managing to balance all of the juggling balls in his life.

Niagara Index: So, Eric, since you're a non-major, what exactly got you started in theater here at NU?

Eric Walsh: My theater experiences at Niagara, in many ways, began on a whim during my sophomore year. I had worked as a tour guide for several years and always enjoyed being in front of a crowd giving speeches. So, I decided to take an acting class for the first time. The class was taught by Greg Fletcher, the director of NU Theatre. It was a great experience, and he was the one that ultimately encouraged me to audition for the department shows at the beginning of my junior year. That semester, I was cast as BabbyBobby in "The Cripple of Innishman," and I have been doing shows ever since.

NI: You're also our student body president. Has that made being in theater difficult?

EW: With office hours and meetings, doing both certainly makes scheduling difficult at times. There are definitely times when I'm living on caffeine and burning the candle at both ends. I have been blessed, though, with a phenomenal cabinet that has been very supportive and knows exactly how to pick up the slack and keep things in order when I'm not around. Our director, Doug Zschiegner, has also been very understanding and has been there for me to talk to when things get hectic or stressful.

NI: Tell me a little bit about your character, and the show.

EW: "She Stoops to Conquer" is a comedy about a bachelor (Charles Marlowe) who is a babbling mess around women of high social status, but aggressively pursues working-class women. While traveling to the country to court the daughter of his father's old friend, he is met with a cast of characters including a black sheep son, a military father, a dominating mother, and a lady that might just be able to break him of his ways. I'm playing (Marlowe), whose bizarre personality causes him to be overwhelmingly confident around some people and paralyzed by shyness with others.

NI: Why do you think students should come see the show?

EW: The reason to come see "She Stoops" is the cast. That's the same reason I'm excited to go to rehearsal every night. Working with all the other actors and actresses is great, and everyone brings something unique to the table. That is also what makes the show funny, watching all of these personalities collide.

NI: Excellent, thanks, Eric. In conclusion, what advice do you have for other non-theater majors who might want to audition?

EW: I would say three things. First, take the plunge. You have nothing to lose by auditioning and, as nerve-wracking as it may be the first time, it only gets easier after that. Second, take some acting training. Even if it is one class, there is really a method to this whole thing. Lastly, don't get discouraged if you're not cast the first time out. Each semester, very talented actors and actresses may not be cast because they don't fit any of the roles available. So remember to keep at it.


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