The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Threatre student shows dedication to passion

Cristen Manion said she understands that becoming an actress requires passion, which many people don’t possess.

“It demands a work ethic that is demanding, but rewarding as well,” said the sophomore theatre communications arts major and political science minor.

“An actress needs to be in tune with herself psychically, mentally and spiritually. And most importantly, an actress needs to be a survivor.”

Manion lives in Youngstown, Ohio, with her parents, two sisters, grandmother and her companion cat.

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Manion said she has been performing for her family since she was a little girl, but not in a technical sense.

“I was one of those kids who would force my parents and grandparents to sit and watch as I put on a show in the kitchen,” she said.

“Professionally, I began thinking about acting as a career when I realized that I loved making people think. I found that arts can truly do that.”

Manion has been involved in numerous plays at the Schuster Theatre such as “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Poor of New York,” “Galileo” and “Lysistrata.”

Also, Manion has worked behind the scenes of plays by helping as a production assistant and a stage manager.

Manion will be performing in the upcoming play, “The Cherry Orchard,” at the Schuster Theatre, Feb. 9–19. Her character is Lyubov Andreevna Ranevskaya, an interesting, but, challenging role for Manion to learn.

“She lives for love and emotion, yet she hides her own emotions,” she said.

“She lives with the idea of laughing through the tears and making the best of all the horrible situations she faces.”

Play rehearsals are a lot of work, but Manion said she loves the process and in the end it is all worth it.

“During rehearsal I get to know my fellow cast members better than anyone else,” she said.

“When someone stands on stage and passionately portrays a character, they reveal crucial parts of themselves; it’s intriguing. I feel like I truly have found a family within the Schuster Theatre.”

Paula Barrett, director of “The Cherry Orchard” and an instructor in the communication arts program at Gannon, said Cristen comes to rehearsals prepared and ready to work.

“She does her homework on her character by researching the time period and the author,” she said. “She learns as much as she can about the play, the social and economic conditions and the people of the time period.”

Also, Barrett said, Manion follows instructions well and is able to change her motivations and intentions in each scene.

“She isn’t afraid to take huge emotional leaps when needed,” she said. “She sets a good professional example for the other actors in the show.”

“The Cherry Orchard” was intended to be a comedy, but plot wise, it isn’t so funny, Manion said. “I expect the audiences’ reactions to be confused, but entertained,” she said.

“In fact, the biggest laughs are brought on by the characters and their oversized problems. It’ll be interesting to see how people react to the tragic comedy. The play gets the heart and soul of each of us through the characters’ love for each other.”

Manion said acting is a double edged sword because it allowed someone to live emotions, backgrounds and thought processes, which are not their own.

“It’s captivating, challenging and intriguing all at the same time,” she said. “The more I learn about people and study them, the more I find myself examining my friends and family. Sometimes it would just be nice to not question the intentions or emotions of the people around me. It’s a weird dilemma.”


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