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The Lost Boys

“Death of a Salesman” focuses on the stories of Willy Loman’s two sons who question the existence of the American Dream and their father’s relentless pursuit of it.  Behind the scenes, theatre majors Curtis Stallings and Ross Daniel have taken on the challenge of transforming themselves into their respective characters. - Photo credit: Scott Carranza

“Death of a Salesman” focuses on the stories of Willy Loman’s two sons who question the existence of the American Dream and their father’s relentless pursuit of it. Behind the scenes, theatre majors Curtis Stallings and Ross Daniel have taken on the challenge of transforming themselves into their respective characters. – Photo credit: Scott Carranza

High school football champion hopes to find his footing in the world and meet the standards of his father

By Kelly Mainor

Curtis Stallings

Curtis Stallings

Curtis Stallings, sophomore theatre major, recently transferred to Georgia College from Columbus State University to greater pursue his passion for theater performance.

Although he is the new kid on the block, he beat his competition landing one of the lead roles as Biff Loman in the upcoming performance “Death of a Salesman.”

“It’s a big feat,” Stallings said. “I enjoy exploring the emotional boundaries of Loman’s character.”

Willy Loman and his other son, Happy Loman, share the stereotypical idea of the American dream.

Stallings steals the spotlight while his character, Biff Loman, stands apart from the others. Biff pursues his own dreams and follows his heart without the outside influence of others.

“Playing the role of Biff is very taxing, but I can relate to his desire to persevere in finding his own American dream,” Stallings said.

Stallings is studying theater and is hopeful it will be a foundation for future plans.

Like Biff, Stallings is pursuing his dreams in his own way. His dream consists of entrepreneurship with theater tied into the mix.

Acting has always been a part of his life. Originally from Cumming, Ga., Stallings began acting in high school and as a recent graduate from West Forsyth High, he continues to conquer his love for the stage.

“I remember one of my favorite roles in high school,” Stallings said. “I had the honor of playing the rug in ‘Beauty and the Beast.’”

The intimidation behind the stigma of being the new student in the theatre department has not hindered Stallings at all.

“When I first came to GC, I would have never guessed how welcoming and helpful the other cast members have been,” Stallings said. “They have really been essential to helping me figure out and understand the culture of the program here.”

Although the theatre department here may be fresh for him, he is not letting anything stand in his way of mastering his role.

As he continues to personify his character daily, Stallings re-reads his script continuously and listens to music that applies to his character and the background of the play.

Theatre professor Iona Holder directs the play, and Stallings enjoys how she works as a director.

“She is extremely loyal to the script. Her technique is different than what I am used to but she posses a unique eye for theater,”  Stallings said.

The role of Biff Loman is contrasted with his brother, Happy, who embodies his father’s idea of the American dream within the play.

“One of my favorite things about my role is that I get to be the most aggressive in the play,” Stallings said. “There are a lot of arguments and my favorite scene is the end of the play when Biff is arguing with Willy.”

Taking the stage with nine of his peers, Stallings and the cast are eager for their first performance. The show is set to debut on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at Russell Auditorium.

Deemed to be the successful brother with a steady job, Happy strives to step out of the shadow of his older brother

By Michelle Hanley

Ross Daniel

When most students’ days are winding down around dinner time, Ross Daniel’s is still just getting started.

Daniel is a confident and charismatic character both on and off the stage, and through all of his work between school, his fraternity and the theatre department, Daniel still finds the time to discuss his upcoming performance as Happy Loman in the American classic, “Death of a Salesman.”

Rehearsals for “Death of a Salesman” are held six days a week and late into the evenings, taking up most of Daniel’s time.

“I want to be at rehearsal more than anything else,” Daniel said.

“Death of a Salesman” is the renowned story of the American Dream told through the eyes of a traveling businessman written by Arthur Miller and set in Brooklyn in the 1940s.

Daniel has always felt connected to his character Happy even before being casted as one of the brothers because he was already a fan of the play.

Happy Loman is the competitive and ambitious second son of traveling businessman Willy Loman. Like his character, Daniel is the youngest son in his family, and he looks up to his older brother almost daily.

“Happy has the same admiration toward his older brother Biff as I have for my brother, so it’s easy for me to relate,” Daniel said.

Daniel is excited about the upcoming production, but he also has his reservations. Since he relates so well to Happy and draws inspiration from his own life, Daniel wants the character to be truthful.

“I want to breathe life into this character, which is hard to do as someone else,” Daniel said.

However, Daniel must first master the New York accent.

Daniel, like most Southerners, finds the phonetics of the script to be tough but not impossible, especially when it comes to the pronunciation of vowels.

“It’ll be hard, but I’m willing to work at it,” Daniel said.

Inspiration and guidance over the past four years has been given to Daniel by members of the theatre department, including Karen Berman, Julie Mulvihill and Amy Pinney. “Death of a Salesman” director Iona Holder has influenced him in ways that he couldn’t have imagined.

“She expects our best,” Daniel said, “I’ve never been pushed to these levels before.”

Daniel mentions that not only are they one of the youngest casts to come through the theatre department, but they are one of the most talented groups of people he has ever seen.

Some of Daniel’s past performances at Georgia College include roles in: “Fat Pig,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Wedding Singer” and “The Birds.”

Daniel graduates next spring with a degree in theater and a minor in dance. After graduating, he intends to pursue a masters of fine arts degree in movement performance next fall.

His dream job is to teach dance at the college level.

“Doing something I love, that’s all I really want,” Daniel said.

 

 

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