Student uses drama to inspire others


Photo by: Kyle Graham

Senior theatre arts major Malcolm Parker hopes to use his talent and passion for acting to help and connect with others.

For senior theatre arts major Malcolm Parker, FMU is not simply a university that will allow him to earn a degree but a place where he truly has found his passion.

While at FMU, Parker has performed in FMU productions of “The Tempest,” “Blues for an Alabama Sky” and “The Fantasticks.” However, Parker said that he didn’t have an interest in acting until recent years.

Parker said he became interested in theatre in high school after attending a showing of “12 Angry Jurors.”

According to Parker, he had overwhelming stage fright and didn’t enjoy plays as a child. However, he said he was quickly drawn to theatre after this performance because he enjoyed the way his classmates portrayed characters that were completely different from their own personalities.

“I saw students that I knew from class get to be totally different people, characters that most people could never actually be in their real lives,” Parker said. “I wanted to have that freedom to be whoever I wanted to be onstage.”

According to Parker, after performing in plays, he found that acting allowed him to pursue another personal goal: helping others. Parker said that since he was a child, one of his biggest passions was helping others and making people smile. He said that most of the enjoyment that he gets while performing comes from reactions from the audience.

“The best part of every show is getting to see people smile and laugh and enjoy themselves,” Parker said. “It makes my day knowing that I’m making someone else’s. There may even be that one person in the audience who’s just had a really bad day, but knowing that, for two hours, you get to help them forget about those things and enjoy that specific moment is really empowering.”

According to Parker, another aspect he enjoys about acting and being on stage is the connection that actors and stage can achieve with audience members. Parker said he thinks theatre and entertainment in general can be a powerful tool to connect people with differing interests and backgrounds.

“A love for entertainment is one of the main things that links all human beings together,” Parker said. “There’s a large connecting value to the whole art.”

Aside from his responsibilities as a student and an actor, Parker works for the Alphabet Theatre Workshop. Parker is also a member of the Patriot Players, a student organization that holds events for students interested in drama and theatre. Parker said that this organization helps him share his love for acting with students of all majors by providing the opportunity to interact with those who may be interested in drama.

“We give students opportunities to explore theatre and do theatre even if they’re not a theatre major,” Parker said. “We also introduce people to theatre, which is really fun because we’re able to bring these people into our shows as actors or as backstage workers.”

In the future, Parker intends to share his passion for drama with young children. Parker said he hopes to someday become a teacher or start his own nonprofit organization that helps children and adults learn through theatrical experiences.

“In the future, I’d really like to do almost anything that impacts people,” Parker said. “In regards to my major, though, one ultimate goal is starting up a theatre show or troop that teaches children and adults to read through music and theatrical stories and performance.”

Parker said he thinks performance and theatre can be eye-opening for everyone and can be beneficial for all types of people because of the sense of personal achievement one feels and the satisfaction of impacting others positively.