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University of Minnesota
April 5, 2013
Theater can show the honest humanity of a person, says U actor
Joseph Pyfferoen is a versatile young actor who's appearing in the world premiere of Something About A Bear, a modern fairy tale, at Rarig Center, April 11-21.
Q&A with Joseph Pyfferoen
Home town: Rochester, MN
Where are you now on your academic path?
I am a senior in the BA theater department with a minor in communication studies.
What's your career goal?
To have a career—in all seriousness. I want to have a career in professional acting especially in the realm of musical theater.
How did you discover your major in theater?
I had known for quite some time prior to attending the U that I wanted a life in theater. I'd been acting since the age of eight, so I wanted to make it my life's work.
Why is theater important?
Aside from being the original 3D form of entertainment, there is a huge personal aspect to it. I could write a book, make a CD, or even perform on TV, but there is a wall between the artist and the viewer. Theater can show the honest humanity of a person. We are asked, for a few hours, to believe that—as in Something About a Bear—magic exists, tyrant kings can be reformed, and true love's kiss can defeat any spell.
What do you love about acting?
This human aspect of performance. I also love the passion that is needed to connect with an entire audience. Passion and drive have the ability to take a piece from an internal monologue that only you hear to filing a 500+ seat theater with your emotion.
What's been your biggest challenge as an actor?
One of my greatest challenges has been opening myself to new methods of working. I was used to walking into a theater, script in hand, blocking and running 'til you perform. I've been part of a few original works set at the U, including Bear. It's a whole different beast when you're making something—a character or an entire show—that no one has seen before.
Why the U of M?
One of the reasons I choose the U was because of the professors. All are not only experts in their field, but they are also working in said field. Also, the sheer amount of theaters in the twin cities means that there is hope for work in my future. Finally, I was drawn by the diversity of coursework and opportunities the department has to offer. In the past four years I've acted, directed, designed, danced, sung, and a whole lot more.
What are you most curious about?
As an actor, the obvious answer is everything. How do things work? How do I work? Can I combine the two? More than that, I'm curious about my future. I want to act—there is nothing else I would rather do. The question is, will I be picked? Will I get lucky? Will I be able to pay off my debt? Simply put, I'm curious about many things.