Following winding tree-lined roads, an amphitheater appears nestled amongst the trees in the wilderness of Topanga Canyon. The theater is a rare haven for the art that offers a unique experience not only for spectators, but also for actors.

Students Kelvin Morales and Mark Samet were close to calling off their auditions for the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, a theater company that focuses on Shakespeare plays and hosts outdoor performances. Their audition was on the same day as the last two performances of the play “Romeo and Juliet” at PCC, which featured Morales as Romeo and Samet as Mercutio. But a stressful day was not the only reason for hesitation.

“There is kind of a fear of jumping into the professional world,” Samet said. “If you’re in a school you’re kind of a big fish in a small pond. When you go into something like this there is hundreds of people vying for these roles and that scares people. But I think the proof is in the pudding. You go after, you try something and you might get cast.”

Luckily, Samet and Morales made their way to Topanga Canyon where the Theatricum is located. Both credit Will Hickman, the director of “Antigone”, the play in which each performed in, for going ahead with their auditions. Morales said they were really prepared because of Hickman.

“He encouraged the heck out of us to go,” Samet said. “And that was I think the key thing. He worked with us and he spent the time to fix up our monologues for the audition process.”

Hickman, who has been involved as an actor with the Theatricum himself, got to know the two students well as he not only was their director of “Antigone” but also the fight scene coordinator for “Romeo and Juliet.”

“Both Mark and Kelvin are incredibly positive in their work and have a way of bringing those positive choices on stage,” Hickman said. “Mark’s research was essential to Antigone, and Kelvin’s monologue became one of my favorite parts of the show.”

Morales chose to audition with a monologue from his role as Romeo, and Samet auditioned with a monologue from one of his favorite plays, Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

Both actors came out on top. Morales was cast as Ziad in “Romeo & Juliet” and additionally as the understudy for Romeo. He will also play two smaller roles in “Titus Andronicus,” also a Shakespeare play.

Samet was cast as Peter, the house servant for the Capulets, in “Romeo & Juliet,” as an extra for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and is the understudy for the role of Quince in the same play.

Not only will the two perform throughout the summer at the Theatricum, but they also have claimed two spots in the theater’s acting internship program. They will take classes with professional teachers and directors amongst others in voice, improvisation, rhetoric and poetry recitation over the summer in order to develop their craft.

Morales and Samet won’t get paid in dollars, but in equity points. Equity is the union that represents theater actors and the points will get them closer to membership.

The internship, which kicked off earlier this month, is a stepping stone between school and professional theater, as Samet explained.

Jonathan Blandino, the casting director for the Theatricum and the head of the internship program, had contacted Samet and Morales to tell them they were accepted. He explained in an email that the internship candidates are selected primarily based on their auditions.

“Both Mark and Kelvin have a simple honesty to their work,” Blandino wrote. “They don’t push, they don’t hesitate, they have great instincts and they act on them … Both take direction without judgment and have a genuine excitement to grow.”

Both actors gained valuable experience from the theater classes they took and plays they performed in at PCC and learned insights from each person they worked with.

“I’ve had a great time here,” Morales said. “All the directors that I have worked with have been great. They each have their own style of working and it’s been really interesting getting to know each director and getting to know how they work.”

Samet describes his time at PCC so far as a priceless experience and appreciates that the college has equipped him with knowledge and connections, and at little cost.

“I think sometimes people get really wrapped up in graduating people through this mill but failing to recognize that sometimes people that don’t graduate, especially in the arts, are also gaining enormously from these programs,” he said.

Morales, who found his passion for acting in high school, can’t see himself doing anything else.

“What I enjoy the most about it is being able to live a life that you wouldn’t have otherwise,” Morales said. “You get to be in people’s shoes that lived in a completely different world than you and different experiences than yourself.”

For Samet concentrating on acting was “a change of life decision.”

“I feel a deep compulsion to communicate profound ideas to this population right now,” Samet said. “People need beauty. They need these ideas, what high drama, what Shakespeare represents.”

Rehearsals for “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” have started and performances start on June 4, 2016. Tickets can be purchased on the Theatricum’s website.

This story has been updated.

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