Artist Spotlight : Gwen Kelly-Masterson

Anna Hainze

With both parents involved in the theater during the first three years of her life, it only seems natural that senior Gwen Kelly-Masterson gravitated towards this art form more than any other. Our featured artist admits to always having been into the dramatic arts, specifically acting, but truly found her niche at the tender age of 15: “I realized that I always wanted to tell the other actors what to do, give them advice and suchlike.” Lo and behold, a director was born.
Though her directing debut occurred during her senior year of high school in a Commedia dell’Arte version of “Cinderella,” Kelly-Masterson has most certainly been busy honing her skills ever since. Currently, our featured artist is working on a production of “Antigone,” which she, not so surprisingly, is directing.
This, however, is not your everyday “Antigone” — “We decided to do [the production] all-female to complement ‘Pillowman’ and partly because we feel that the central conflict of the story of ‘Antigone,’ though often viewed to be gender-based, really reaches beyond gender into the more basic realm of the force of authority and the force that challenges authority.”
Even the venue is unique: “Antigone” will be performed Feb. 19 and 20 on the “sky lounge” of the Science Hall atrium, the skywalk that bridges the third floors of Youngchild Hall and Science Hall.
But why direct when one can get more spotlight, more attention, more Oscars, as an actress? When I asked Kelly-Masterson which she preferred, acting or directing, there was absolutely no hesitation in her response: “Directing. I’m never satisfied with my acting. … Ultimately, if for every two shows I directed, I could act in one, I’d be happy.”
And as for her future plans, Kelly-Masterson is one of those lucky few seniors who know exactly what she wants to do: direct, and someday start her own theatre company.