Bree Adams – Features Editor. Like every other Average Joe working in a cubicle, Linfield alumnus Zane John¬ston wakes up early and heads to a long day of work. But instead of sending out TPS reports and fighting with a copy machine, Johnston spends his “9-to-5” rehearsing Shakespeare.
Johnston is an acting apprentice at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. At Linfield, he was actively involved with the theater, and during the rare times when he wasn’t onstage, he was busy work¬ing behind the scenes.
“I was desperate to find some form of work once I graduated,” Johnston said. “The Actors Theatre of Louisville had a very impressive program, so I auditioned and got in.”
Johnston began work at the ATL in August and spent the first few weeks getting to know the 21 other apprentices he would be working with throughout the year.
Apprentices at the theater spend their days completing assigned projects, attend¬ing workshops about becoming profession¬al actors and auditioning and rehearsing for future productions. If an apprentice isn’t cast in a show, they can become an under¬study, run tech or work as assistants with all aspects of the theater.
ATL also holds the annual Humana Festi¬val of New American Plays, a production of eight new perfomanes that apprentices are required to audition for. The festival runs from late February to late March annually.
“We have an apprentice season of work that is constantly changing and is designed to help us expand our acting ability,” Johnston said.
Johnston has been honing his performing ability for much of his life. He began his involvement with the theater when he was just six years old.
“My mom signed me up for a local chil¬dren’s play to keep me out of the house for a couple hours each day,” Johnston said. “I’d like to say I enjoyed it, but I actually hated it. I then got involved in a couple after-school plays in elementary school and have been doing it ever since.”
One of his most memorable roles was starring as Don Quixote in Linfield’s fall 2008 production of “Man of La Mancha,” his favorite musical.
“I’m a sucker for comedies,” Johnston said. “However, I love classical theater, especially Shakespeare.”
This love will help Johnston as he pre¬pares to play Snug the Joiner in ATL’s com¬ing production of Shakespeare’s “A Mid¬summer Night’s Dream.”
Even though he’s just beginning this new professional venture, Johnston is already thinking of the future. When actors visit ATL from New York, Johnston meets them all with the intent of making a good impres¬sion and being identified as an option for other possible shows.
“I want to start a career as an actor in New York,” Johnston said. “I am happy when I’m performing, and the truth of this profession is that living comfortably can be achieved mainly in New York or L.A.”
Despite the pull for a financially stable career, Johnston feels that he’s in his ele¬ment when onstage.
“I love storytelling, but I can’t write worth a damn, so writing stories is out of the ques¬tion for me,” Johnston said. “I’m left to tell other people’s stories onstage and feel the energy of the audience. Theater is one of the few artistic mediums where you get an immediate reaction from the audience you’re presenting to.”
For more information about the Actors Theatre of Louisville, visit www.actorsthe¬atre.org.