The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

Mercy Offers Theatre to Every Student with New Minor

Mercy+Offers+Theatre+to+Every+Student+with+New+Minor

Bright lights. Wooden stage. People move, dance, and sing dressed in heavy costumes with the utmost confidence in front of a relaxed audience.  

The theatre is a sight to see as the word comes from the Greek word “theatron” meaning “a place of seeing.”

Mercy recently introduced theatre arts to its list of minors offered for undergraduate students.

A minor requires five courses amounting to 15 credits in order to be completed. For the new theatre arts minor, students can take courses such as Introduction to Acting, Scene Performance, a Shakespeare class, and more. 

In 2017, a small group approached Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and the Arts, Marc Palmieri, a playwright and screenwriter who teaches these courses, and wanted to form the Theatre Club. During that time, a scene performance class was being taught each semester. 

Theatre Club member Jake Smith did not care too much about theatre at first. He always had an interest, but his fears that he wouldn’t be good enough, that he’d be laughed away from auditions, or that his talents would be better used elsewhere would hold him back.

It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that his group of friends changed his life and provided him with the courage and reassurance to believe in himself.

Smith said, “Now here I am, several years later, and my love for acting has only grown at Mercy University thanks to the help of even more wonderful people involved with our wonderful Theater Club.”

He added regarding his fears, “They also helped me realize that self-doubt I was feeling didn’t matter. Whether it was through the larger-scale shows, one-act plays, or just hanging out with the people from there casually, it helped foster a passion in me that I didn’t know existed until Mercy.”

The interest in the Theatre Club grew quickly and by spring 2019, there were over 25 members participating in what Palmieri describes as a “thriving collaboration” with Irvington Theater. 

Mercy has held multiple collaborations with the Irvington Theater. To name a few, the Theater hosted the Drama Club’s showcase, Mercy hosted the Theater’s play festival, and Mercy students have even worked in the theater. 

The Irvington Theater Manager Greg Allen is excited Mercy is now offering a theatre arts minor as he has greatly enjoyed collaborating with Mercy over the past few years. Allen said, “Allowing students to minor in theatre will give great opportunities for those graduating from Mercy who see some type of theatre work in their future. Plus the sheer knowledge they will get from taking the classes will further their theatre education in ways that sometimes can’t be quantified.” 

The lessons of collaboration, stage presence, and research to name a few that we learn from theatre can be used in many other fields.

— Irvington Theater Manager Greg Allen

However, the skills learned from partaking in the new theatre arts minor can not only be applied to a theatre career. Allen added, “The lessons of collaboration, stage presence, and research to name a few that we learn from theatre can be used in many other fields.” 

Palmieri said in relation, “Everyone benefits from any minor. It’s the most interesting part of a job interview.”

He added, “The minor is where you can stand out and one gets to hone essential skills, such as teamwork and expression, which is vital in any endeavor or relationship.”

Everyone benefits from any minor.

— Professor Palmieri

Palmieri is a long-time member of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Actors Union (SAG-AFTRA) and has been on the New York stage, in soap operas, and in TV commercials. 

As a professor in the Media Studies Program at Mercy, Palmieri was able to teach media studies students who chose a concentration in performance in the Lecture Hall Theater. However, other major students did not have this same opportunity. Hence, Palmieri collaborated with professors Louis Grasso, Michael Perrota, Jason Zalinger, and School of Liberal Arts Dean Peter West to pitch the idea for the new theatre minor successfully.

Palmieri said passionately, “I think theatre is the most powerful art form. There is nothing like an audience experiencing storytelling in a space where characters are there in front of them in the flesh.”

I think theatre is the most powerful art form. There is nothing like an audience experiencing storytelling in a space where characters are there in front of them in the flesh.

— Professor Palmieri

Even with modern times of Zoom meetings and working remotely, Palmieri added, “Despite technological innovations, there is still nothing like being in the room with living breathing humans experiencing together.”

The theatre arts minor is new this semester and will hopefully attract students passionate about theatre or those seeking to go outside of their comfort zone.  

Smith said regarding the new minor, “The theatre minor absolutely interests me, and I think it should interest anyone with even the slightest intrigue in theatre.” He continued, “It is a wonderful opportunity for anyone to act on their passions and help them grow even further, eventually into something truly wonderful.”

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About the Contributor
Alyssa Politi
Alyssa Politi, Managing Editor
Alyssa Politi is a senior at Mercy University majoring in journalism and minoring in business. She serves Mercy University presently as the Director of Communications of Student Government, the Program Assistant of Mercy's Global Honors Program, a Student Worker in the School of Liberal Arts Dean’s Office, and the Marketing Director of the CEO Club. Outside of the Mercy community, Politi relishes in social media content creation, quality family and friends time, and prides herself on self-care. Politi writes a column for The Impact titled Blondes Have More Fun, which delves into the not-so-fun aspects of life that have been thrown her way and that others may relate to. She can be reached at [email protected].  

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