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Friday, October 17, 2014

URI ALUMNI IN THE SPOT LIGHT


A Look at Max Ponticelli 

URI Theatre I By Gail Henriques

URI Alumni, Max Ponticelli
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing URI Theatre alum, Max Ponticelli, a graduate of 2009 with a BFA in Theatre, specializing in Design and Management. Mr. Ponticelli offered insight about his time and experiences at URI, and was able to offer some advice to current URI Theatre students.

Max told us how URI Theatre held him to the same standards during his education as professional theatre organizations would hold their own employees, which essentially gave him a unique advantage in the job market. He was taught early on that the more skills acquired, the better his visibility and marketability became. Max said, “The mentors on the faculty encouraged me to create, edit and hone my resume early on, and that networking is a key part of our field.” He went on to say, “When I had a job opportunity arise, I knew I could handle the interview because we held mock ones in class, but most of all the desire to work hard was ingrained in me by the examples my professors and peers made.”

Some of Max’s defining moments at URI were during his junior year as a Production Manager, Scenic Designer and Tech Director for the student directed production of True West. “I put a lot of weight on my shoulders for that production, but our team came together and made the production worthy of being a main-stage,” He said, “I remember the wonderful designer meetings with my director, Pat Bosworth; David T. Howard, our professor and mentor, getting our design class together to volunteer their time to help me paint the set walls (which I happened to be way behind schedule on); the trips across South County to a cabinet maker’s shop, who had generously donated reject kitchen cabinets for our set.” He added, “It is something I still look back on proudly.”

There were some defined opportunities that Mr. Ponticelli found to be beneficial during his 4 years at URI. He discovered that moving off campus was incredibly liberating and an educational experience, as it prepared him for the responsibilities of adulthood, as a person can’t learn budgeting in a class – one must do it. And serving on the Dean’s student advisory board gave him an interesting view of the University, which put him in touch with different people he would otherwise not have interacted with. He said, “being selected as a senior student to be the Scenic Designer of a main-stage production was an honor and an opportunity awarded to few.”

Max believes that a variety of different aspects of theatre at URI prepared him for the ever-changing demands of his current job (years as a carpenter and painter in the scene shop prepared him to help build sets; time spent in the costume shop learning to sew and stitch gave him the ability to fix a tear or sew a button during intermission; hanging lights, working sound, running shows, corralling during auditions – all experiences he needed to have in order to be effective at his work.

In-as-much as URI offers many opportunities to work outside of classes, and classes that are also necessary towards future jobs, Max Ponticelli would like to offer some advice to current students at URI,… “If you need to blow off some steam, take “Stage Combat!”, if you need to understand how a corporation works or run a company; take a business course, even if you’re the only Fine Arts major there. But, regardless of the course, pay attention, as every professor has a unique lesson for you to apply to your life!”

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