The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

100° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


BFA student Alec Michael Coles prepares for role in Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’

April Lanuza
Portrait of Musical Theatre student Michael Coles outside the Science Engineering Library on Monday, Dec. 5 in Tucson, Ariz.

Alec Michael Coles, a theatre production junior, takes on the UA Bachelor of Fine Arts acting program as he prepares for his future role as Malvolio in the upcoming production of “Twelfth Night.” Coles talked to the Daily Wildcat about what he likes about the UA’s BFA acting program.

When did you begin to act?

The first production I ever did was Aladdin in “Aladdin Junior” in fourth grade. I started seriously thinking of acting as a career during my sophomore year of high school. I realized theater was something I was really passionate about and started to think about pursuing it as a lifelong career other than a hobby.

Do you enjoy the UA’s BFA acting program and what it offers its students?

I do. I do enjoy the program. There is roughly about 50 people total consisting of freshman and seniors, so it’s very small. Our class sizes are small as well, and because of that we get a lot of attention and a lot of one-on-one training and experience with our professors. We have a really great faculty. It’s a very intense all-encompassing theater program.

RELATEDArts Express gives local talent an opportunity to tell the story of Christmas past, present, future in ‘A Christmas Carol’

Who is your favorite actor and how do they inspire you?

I really like Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is a really good actor, however, he is also an entrepreneur and an artist, and has a lot of side projects that really stimulate his creative artistry as a person. We go into this field because we love acting, but also because we like art, and I think that having a passion for what you do but also cultivating your artistry in other avenues is really important. His foundation HitRecord is this awesome online collaborative art production company, and I really admire him and his work.

What has been the hardest role you have taken on so far in your career?

Next semester we are doing a production called “Twelfth Night,” a Shakespeare play, and we just had casting and I was casted as Malvolio, which I think is going to be the hardest role that I’ve ever had to do.

I’m getting into the script now and researching the meaning of the play and my role in the play—what it means to be Malvolio. It’s a really interesting role. The play kind of celebrates festivities and fun celebratory lifestyle, and Malvolio—in the original production—is described as a Puritan and is kind of against that lifestyle, but some of the more clownish characters in the play trick Malvolio into living that lifestyle, so it’s a really interesting journey.

RELATEDBFA musical theatre major talks life as a student actor

What is the most challenging thing about being an actor?

Bringing myself into everything I do. You can learn the techniques and the “rules” of acting, read the books and be instructed on what looks good and what looks bad, but if you don’t bring yourself into every role that you’re portraying, it’s going to be false.

You have to find similarities and connections between you and the character on the paper. That way what you bring on stage is still a human being.

Where do you see yourself in the future career-wise?

My goal for my career is to originate roles in contemporary works of theater. There are so many new contemporary-modern pieces being made for theater that I think is really exciting and I want to be a part of.

I just recently fell in love with doing Shakespeare, so I would love to do Shakespeare professionally as well. But there is something really exciting about getting a script and knowing you are the first person to originate a role because you bring so much to it and you are laying the foundation work, and that’s really cool. So that is the goal, career-wise. 

Follow Victoria Hudson on Twitter.

More to Discover
Activate Search