Alum performs in Guthrie Theater production


Sydney Foster

Photo by Sydney Foster/ City College News


J.P. Noland originally came to Minneapolis from New York to go to school and was undecided, considering things like Law Enforcement, but in taking his electives; like acting for the camera with Michael Kissin, and theatre with Maxine Klein, he decided that he had found his calling there and was inspired to change his major to theatre.

He’d found something he really loved instead of just something that he had somewhat picked at random, “what I found was when it came to the stage that you’re “supposed” to be a bigger form of yourself on the stage, that you’re supposed to really over act; to “force act” and be a bigger form of yourself on stage. Whereas at MCTC they taught the importance of being subtle, of bringing real world experience, and a more intuitive style where you just act like yourself going about your everyday experiences, bring a natural element to it.

“And a lot of the people they recommended for reading, like Stella Adler, who’s a pioneer in the field of method acting, and the books they recommended for me are still books that I carry with me to this day,” said Noland, “and refer to all the time when it comes to this method.”

“As far as transferring to a theater major,” said Noland, “I feel like this is something I would do as a personal goal but not so much for my career itself, because when it comes to acting, it’s the real world experience that really moves your career along.”

“This performance at the Guthrie is my biggest performance to date and it’s just incredible, I didn’t realize that the theater scene in this city was so huge and I’m really just star struck… I mean it’s really a learning experience and a lot of them are recommending which roads to take as far as agents and which paths to take next, I mean, I catch myself looking at my fellow actor’s imdb’s and getting really, really star-struck.”

Noland continued, “And I see my [fellow actors] on the street and see strangers come up to them and the amount of praise they get is just amazing. I get a ton of advice from my fellow actors too, one of the things I get told more than anything is to network, network, and network some more.”

“I mean, coming from New York originally, I was just really shocked at the huge theatre scene that we have in Minneapolis, I mean it’s just huge,” Noland said, “There’s so much going on, on so many levels and one of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten is to just keep auditioning for every role that comes along – I mean when I saw that there was an opening at the Guthrie I didn’t think I had a chance at it, but much to my surprise they called me back right away and I was just beyond thrilled. Never in my dreams would I have guessed that I would get a part in the Guthrie so early in my career.”

CCN: Why should students go see this play?

Noland: It pretty much ties back to what we were saying earlier, to open their minds and see the relevance that a classic from early American theatre can be so relevant in modern times. To get an understanding of one’s fellow man and to understand that we’re all in this together.

CCN: What are your career goals?

Noland: Acting overall I love, and whether it’s theatre or a commercial here or there, I’d really like to be in film. As long as it involves acting, but film is my goal.

CCN: What is your advice to students as a whole?

Noland: Well, I think that the educational system is really messed up as a whole. I think that tradition says that there is a set time that you need to finish your degree in and I think that is completely backwards. I think that students need to figure out who they are as a person, as an individual first, before diving into a 4 year or more degree and then finding out later that it was not at all what they expected. What would be a great system to have in place would be to let a person experience what it will be like in a given career and if they enjoy what they experience then they can go into a degree program, then they can commit financially to that field instead of going into it blindly.

CCN: What’s the best part of being in To Kill A Mockingbird?

Noland: To be a part of a great American story, it’s such a classic, but not only that just the timing of everything that’s going on, like with Ferguson.

CCN: That’s the first thing I think of.

Noland: Right, so it’s like I hope that when people see this play that it can make people more aware. Because originally, they had heard of the new book coming out so this is perfect timing for that and and they wanted to put it on as an homage to her, but then before it became a production we started to hear all these other things, to see that a story that takes place in 1935 is still relevant in 2015.
The play is running from Sept. 12 – Oct. 25, 2015 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage and tickets cost between $27 to $79 depending on seating, but there are discounts for students; 3 to 6 dollars, and to save even more money it’s recommended to arrive about 30-60 minutes early before show time to receive rush tickets at a flat $20-25. Often times the rush seating is much better than buying tickets in advance and saves you the booking fees as well.