Theatre student takes center stage

Jose filmstrip 00103
By Jesse O. Walls
Managing Editor

With his usual confidence and cool demeanor, Jose Avendano takes to the stage as if he had been acting his whole life. However he didn’t have any stage experience until Crowder.

“How I got into theatre was out of pure curiosity,” he stated, speaking of how he started acting.  “My freshman year here [at Crowder] I started with J.P. [Dickey], and then Drew [Fethers] after that.”

On Stage

Making his stage debut in Stephen Metcalfe’s Strange Snow, Avendano found himself playing the role of David, a guilt-ridden, brooding Vietnam vet.  Sharing the stage with Cory Carterman and Shira Murphy, both of whom had experience on the Crowder stage in previous productions, Avendano was a newcomer.

Strange Snow being the first thing that I’ve ever done, first play and first performance in front of an audience…it was actually the most exciting [show]­­, and also the most terrifying, at the same time,” he said of his debut.

His first show with director Drew Fethers, theatre instructor, Avendano recalled it as an experience he would not forget.

“He gave me a lot of freewill to interpret my character,” stated Avendano, “I actually admired a lot of his directive techniques.”

Shira Murphy, a theatre major whom Avendano would later work with again on the production of Grease, played the role of Martha, David’s sister, in Strange Snow.

“He was good to work with,” Murphy commented of her experience working with Avendano. “Everything just came natural to him. In the role (of David), he was able to portray it without going overboard and trying too hard.”

Making his second stage appearance in The Steadfast Tin Soldier, a children’s play directed by J.P. Dickey, theatre division chair, Avendano played the role of a tin soldier.

“J.P. was a lot different [than Fethers],” Avendano commented, comparing their directing style. Having Dickey as an instructor and advisor, Avendano felt that “[J.P.] knew already that he didn’t need to be there in some directions…like with me or people he already knows. They already have that experience…and he knows he just has to give certain people a script and they will deliver.”

Avendano would go on to work under Fethers’ direction again in Crowder’s presentation of the musical Grease.

“[It] was the pinnacle of my career here at Crowder,” he said of his role in the iconic musical. Playing a smaller role than he had in the previous Fethers’ production, Avendano was cast as the part of Sonny.

With three plays under his belt, Avendano reflected on technique.  “I think everyone has a specific way of acting,” he commented, “because it’s more of a personal thing to express yourself, or express the character your way.”

Off Stage

Offstage Avendano continues his education, while focusing mostly on theatre.

“I’ve seen him use the things that we’ve taught him…to really work on developing a character. He’s a very creative, hardworking student,” commented Dickey.  “I’ve enjoyed his interest, his drive and his willingness to improve.”

The theatre is not his only interest however. His hobbies include intense workouts, Photoshop, spending time with friends and supporting his family.

“What I learn on stage stays on stage, but what I do learn offstage is brought on stage sometimes,” he stated.

So where will the future take him?

“I will be going to MSU (Missouri State University),” he said, “and continuing what I love.”

Planning to continue in theatre, Avendano has been accepted into the Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) program at MSU, a prestigious program that is respected and highly recognized.

“Theatre-wise, I won’t lie, I love doing theatre,” he commented. “It’s like a second home, a more personal home.”