Arts & Entertainment

J.E.B. Stuart High Star Takes Acting Aspirations to College

Colin Martin plays Frank Strang in The College of Wooster’s fall production of “Equus.” (Courtesy Photo)

If Colin Martin has his way, someday he’ll be entertaining audiences on the Second City stage or live from New York on “Saturday Night Live.” But for now, the J.E.B. Stuart High School graduate is working on his acting chops at The College of Wooster, his latest step toward an acting career.

Martin was a regular on the Stuart stage. The Class of 2011 graduate had roles in all of the fall productions and one of the spring productions at Stuart. His senior year, he was cast as Demetrius, one of the four lovers who become the pawns in Puck’s playful toying in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

He recalls a long-held love of acting, as early as staging little performances for his family as a child, and the influence of his theater director at Stuart, Shannon Lynch, helped to push him toward acting as a career.

“She was part of the reason I decided I wanted to do theater, be a theater major, and try to do it in the professional world after college,” Martin said. “Her outlook on theater was that it can change the way people look at the world, and that’s really important. That really affected my outlook on things. She was a really big inspiration to me.”

After graduating from Stuart, Martin enrolled at The College of Wooster. Now a sophomore, Martin has been in two main-stage productions. His first main-stage show was “Marat/Sade,” where he was a member of the chorus, and this fall he joined the cast of “Equus.” The dark drama centers on Alan, a teen who has a disturbing fascination with horses, and the psychiatrist who tries to treat him. Martin was cast as Frank Strang, Alan’s father, and enjoyed the complexities of the character, whom he describes as a secretive man who, though well-intentioned with regard to his family, is still ultimately unlikable in the play.

Landing roles in the big school productions is a bit more competitive at the college level, but Martin says that the opportunities for involvement in theater and the resources available to budding actors are profound. This past summer, Martin had the opportunity to travel to Peru with a small group of students for a six-week study of Peruvian theater. They created a play there, and later were able to perform it as representatives of the United States at a UNESCO International Theatre Institute festival.

He’s also had the chance to take on lead roles through smaller productions. He’s played the lead in two one-act plays, one a comedy. While the young actor’s interests lie in comedy, he likes to stay involved in his college’s theater department, and says that it’s important to have a well-rounded experience in performing, as dramas sometimes demand comedic interludes, and comedies have their serious moments.

While Martin hopes to one day find himself in one of the storied sketch comedy troupes, he’d be content with any future that would put him on the stage.

“I would be perfectly happy just professionally stage acting, making money somewhere,” Martin said. “Just as long as I get to act.”