Overcoming obstacles to fulfill a dream

Practice Makes Perfect-</strongCarolina Meza (left) and friend Kathryn Ventress rehearse lines in the hallway of the P2 building.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT- Carolina Meza (left) and friend Kathryn Ventress rehearse lines in the hallway of the P2 building. CN/Megan G. Razzetti

By Megan G. Razzetti

Theater Arts major Carolina Meza, 26, was once very shy and never explored her passion for Theater until she started East Los Angeles College.

In the hallway of the P2 building Meza , can usually found surrounded by friends, chatting with a group of friends. At first meeting, one would never guess that Meza is a bright and bubbly young lady would have ever been a shy, closed off person at all. “I only focused on sports and school during high school. I didn’t do any theater during that time but I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” said Meza.

Meza’s passion for theater was ignited in elementary school when she was cast as the ladybug in a production of “James and the Giant Peach. She landed her first big role in ELAC’s production of Howard Brenton’s “In Extremis” during the 2013 spring semester.

“I got a big dose of theater life when I was casted,” said Meza, “I got a chance to see a play come to life as well as the characters.” She also got a taste of how everything was put together behind the scenes. As she pauses, a dull roar fills the main hallway of the Blackbox theater. Her face completely lights up with joy. Meza’s passion is shown clearly through her words and her excitement when she talks about her work.

Meza continues on describing her proudest moment during the summer Shakespearian workshop held at ELAC. Meza had never performed a Shakespearian piece let alone read anything by the famous playwright.

“It really had an impact on my life from seeing the crowd’s reaction to my performance,” said Meza, of her performance of a scene from Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Cymbeline. “I was really honored, but also really satisfied with the way the crowd responded and understood what was happening in my scene. It was truly my most memorable moment yet.”

“She was so good, I’m at a loss for words,” said Kathryn Ventress, a close friend and also a theater arts major, Ventress says, “She improves and grows through each performances

Although this experience for her has been great, it has been tough for her, especially during rehearsals. Her most recent play took place earlier this fall semester, “They Won’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!” and it proved to be a challenge.
“I was an understudy for a main role and I played a police officer during the rest of the play,” said Meza. “I felt, along with the other understudies, that we didn’t have enough time to refine our characters or our cues.”

To overcome the challenge during show time, Meza banded with her fellow co-stars and mutually decided that because their families were out in the audience, and that they needed to be brave and perform with every ability.
“She’s like a fierce mama bear, can handle any tough situation, but is also tender and kind,”said Ventress,

Meza, continues on smiling despite her struggles with her last role. She shared her interest in transferring to Cal State Long Beach to continue with her Theater Arts degree and she wants to audition for pretty much anything the entertainment industry has to offer.

Meza wraps things up with some advice for to those who are interested in pursuing theater “If your heart is screaming theater, you should definitely go for it. If you’re undecided, try taking an acting class to get your feet wet.”

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