University of Rhode Island sophomore Derek Colantuono plans to continue his writing and acting career throughout next year.
Colantuono, originally from Cranston, Rhode Island, found his love for acting when he was between the ages of 3 and 5. When he was between 6 and 7 years old, he said he started performing on stage and had his first performance in fourth grade. He described the experience as exhilarating, because he didn’t know what to expect.
“I had the whole crowd laughing,” Colantuono said. “It felt euphoric. You could almost describe it as a high, it was unbelievable.” Â Â
In eighth grade, Colantuono started acting in film. He explained how he has always had a passion for performing, but during high school, his performing fell off a little. During his senior year, it rekindled and continued through college. Currently, he is studying philosophy with a concentration in pre-law.
“I don’t know what it was that sparked my love for acting,” he said. “I just loved getting up in front of people, entertaining them and evoking emotions in them. It felt good to me, it felt enjoyable.”
He explained that even though one may lose themselves in the moment, it is still important for one to keep a piece of themselves alive within their character. When Colantuono hears the word “acting,” he thinks of someone who can completely become another character, and tries to become that character as much as they can.
“When I’m onstage, it’s strange,” Colantuono said. “Even when I’m writing, which is also something I enjoy doing, it’s very weird, because you have to emulate another person entirely, and it’s very easy to lose yourself in that moment.”
Recently, Colantuono performed in the play, Our Distance Between Stars, at The Arctic Playhouse in Warwick. Colantuono played the lead role of a World War II soldier, John Tucker, who is in his early twenties heading off to war. The character ends up meeting his true love, Miss Laurie Wilcox, at a dance just one week before he is set to fight overseas. Â
The play focuses on the two’s love story and how Tucker becomes an allusion to Wilcox. Wilcox constantly finds herself having a battle with her own mind, by asking herself if Tucker will ever return or if he still loves her.
“I auditioned for this part mostly because of the writer, Lenny Schwartz,” Colantuono said. “I also have had military training in my own life so the character just seemed to fit.”
Colantuono’s role in this play would be his first time performing in a romance in a very long time. According to him, the university performed this very same play about 15 years ago and it intrigued him that Schwartz brought it back.
“I would love to continue acting and writing more than anything,” he said. “It’s something I want to be able to do for the rest of my life.”
Colantuono explained that if a person is interested in acting, they should audition and give it a try. He said that there’s no better teacher than experience because experience will determine whether or not a person wants to continue performing.
He continued to say that anyone could be someone completely different when they are in front of crowds, but still getting their point across.
“If you were to meet me off the stage some would describe me as shy,” he said, “others would describe me as outgoing, but when I’m onstage I’m just the complete opposite.”
Colantuono said that he wants to continue to perform when he graduates college. He plans on attending law school in either Tennessee or Los Angeles for not only their great law programs, but for the film scene in the latter and his uncle’s theater that is located in the former.
At this point in Colantuono’s life, he has performed in over 25 productions. Right now, he is just auditioning for different plays and movies as they come to him. He’s looking forward to the month of May 2016, because then he will be traveling to New York City with a director with whom he did a show to showcase it in the city. He expressed his excitement for this and is hoping for the best in his future.