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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    It’s elementary for two UA students

    It’s elementary for two UA students

    For audiences, “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club” is Arizona Theatre Company’s stab at a fresh take on a story people know well. For several UA students, the play is a foray into a profession they hope to enter after graduation.

    Acting seniors Connor Kesslering and Karl Hussey both nabbed understudy roles at the company, in “Lost in Yonkers” and “The Mystery of Irma Vep” respectively, before transitioning to their own minor roles in “Holmes.”

    Kesslering came to the UA as a creative writing major from the Midwest. He figured Arizona would provide a big college that got him away from the cold and to a school with plenty of sports.

    But, in Kesslering’s words, “me and creative writing didn’t jive.” Looking for a change, he auditioned for the acting program in February of 2008, got in and will finish up his degree in December, after five shows with Arizona Repertory Theatre.

    His experiences there “equip me with the right mindset and the right maturity to come at (“Holmes”) from the right direction and in the right way,” he said.

    But Kesserling said being in a professional show provides a whole different atmosphere on stage.

    “Each (Arizona Repertory Theatre show) was so unique and each was genuinely special, but this is a whole new experience and it’s opening up a whole new world,” he said. “Being in the ART shows, it’s just college people and there’s a comfort level there. But when you get out into a professional environment, it’s really exciting.”

    Hussey, like Kesslering, expressed his gratitude for being in the show. After an internship with the theater last semester, he said he had the “absolute pleasure to be working with these professionals” in this new “Holmes” production.

    “Some of these guys have been working for 30 years on Broadway, off Broadway, in theater, in voiceovers,” he said. “To see them in action, in one room, doing one show — that’s been amazing.”

    Hussey came to the UA after being accepted into the theater program his freshman year, and said the major difference between the work he has done with the Arizona Repertory Theatre and this show is seeing how disciplined his co-stars are.

    Rehearsals, which usually last a couple hours after classes for three weeks in ART, become all-day rehearsals for months to put on a show for Arizona Theatre Company. The level of professionalism in “Holmes” Hussey said is different than ART, which is “more of a student-based learning tool” for him and his fellow classmates to gain experience as stage actors.

    After graduation, Hussey and Kesslering said they hope to take their experience in theater to branch out into a life of acting.
    But both actors say this is a great show to finish off their senior years, and a fresh spin on a classic series.

    “You should see it if you are at all interested in the Sherlock Holmes mystique,” Kesserling said. “You’ve never seen any of it before, but it’s very true to the book and it’s a very well done professional show.”

    Hussey agreed, saying: “It’s a unique Sherlock Holmes story, but it has a modern-day twist that’s very refreshing. Plus, the staging, the costuming and everything is beautiful.”

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