Thursday, February 22, 2018
Bantam Artist of the Week: Actress Chanel Erasmus ’15

Bantam Artist of the Week: Actress Chanel Erasmus ’15

Erin Gannon

A&E Editor

COURTESY OF Chanel Erasmus Erasmus ’15 will act in Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

COURTESY OF Chanel Erasmus
Erasmus ’15 will act in Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

In terms of talent, diversity is a quality in high demand and low supply. Truly multi-talented individuals are hard to come by, but this week’s Bantam Artist is one of the rare exceptions. Chanel Erasmus ’15 boasts an impressive list of accomplishments, not only artistically, but in a variety of other aspects as well.

In terms of talent, diversity is a quality in high demand and low supply. Truly multi-talented individuals are hard to come by, but this week’s Bantam Artist is one of the rare exceptions. Chanel Erasmus ’15 boasts an impressive list of accomplishments, not only artistically, but in a variety of other aspects as well.
Erasmus, originally from Cape Town, South Africa, came to Trinity in January 2012, beginning her undergraduate studies a semester behind her peers because of South Africa’s academic calendar. Managing to graduate alongside her classmates despite having a shorter undergraduate career, she majored in theater and dance while competing on two national championship-winning teams, women’s squash and women’s rowing.
Amidst a resume of skills, acting is Erasmus’s first love. During her time at Trinity, she participated in a number of productions, but due to her busy academic and athletic schedule, she was only able to act in mainstage productions during her senior year. She played Hippolyta in ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and Mrs. Winsley in Stop Kiss, in addition to acting in several thesis productions.
“The Theater and Dance Department played a large part in my development as an actor and love for the stage,” Erasmus said. “I’ve learned so much from the professors and other students I worked with, especially Michael Preston, Barbara Karger, Mitch Polin, and Mariah Sage. They’ve all taught me and influenced my love for the stage.”
Presently, Erasmus works as a Trinsition Fellow for the Bantam Network, overseeing the Book and Brownell Nests, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Law. She is also an Assistant Coach for the women’s squash team. Despite her hectic schedule, Erasmus still finds time to act and participate in theater productions.
Erasmus is currently in the final stages of preparing to play Cecily Cardew in the Oscar Wilde classic, The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People. The play tells the story of two young men in late-19th century London who each take on the pseudonym “Earnest” to engage in always deceptive, sometimes inappropriate, and often hilarious activities. For Erasmus, and many other stage actresses, Cecily Cardew is a dream role.
The production opens on Oct. 6, and runs through Oct. 8, and then again from Oct. 13 to 15 at the LP Wilson Community Center in Windsor, CT. The Windsor Jesters, the theater company putting on the show, are a non-profit community theater group. In a community theater production, the actors are not paid. “It’s easy to do things when you’re paid,” Erasmus said. “Doing this unpaid, and enjoying it, has shown me that it’s something I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s reaffirmed to me that this is my passion and hopefully, will one day become my full-time job.”
Her highly active schedule does not daunt Erasmus in the slightest. “I work an entire day, practice, train on my own and then have rehearsals,” she said, “theater is sort of an escape from my everyday reality. It brings me so much joy and that’s a beautiful thing.”
Erasmus got involved with this most recent production after participating in an event called “Play in a Day” hosted at the nearby Playhouse on Park Theater this summer, in which a play is written, cast, rehearsed, and performed all within a span of 24 hours. The director of The Importance of Being Earnest, Chris Bushey, acted in “Play in a Day”. Erasmus later saw a casting call online for this production, “and knew it was something [she] wanted to be a part of.”
Over the summer, Erasmus acted in another community theater event in Torrington, CT at the Warner Theater. The play was called Over the River and Through the Woods, and despite being a community production, was a very professional show. “The Warner Theater is one of the best community theaters you can perform at,” Erasmus said. “Landing that was so special for me. I got so much support from my friends who came out to see it, even though I played a much smaller role than everyone else on stage.” Over the River and Through the Woods was Erasmus’s first major production outside of Trinity College.
“It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the college theater experience,” she said. “You don’t know how good you are until you leave, and then the real world hits. You’re up against so many other people, and it’s a competitive business. It’s grounding, but getting the role in [The Importance of Being Earnest] was so important for pursuing acting as my future career. It confirmed that I may really have a possibility of being able to do this.”
For more information about the production, visit www.windsorjesters.org.

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