UNK Today | August 2014 - page 28

By CASSIE KERNICK
Hub Intern
KEARNEY — Spencer
Wolfe found his place in the
theater department.
“The program is great, I
highly rec-
ommend it to
everyone. It’s
really just a little
family there.
Everyone pulls
their weight,”
Wolfe, a Univer-
sity of Nebraska
at Kearney grad
said.
Performing has always been
an important part of Wolfe’s
life, but was not what originally
brought him from his home-
town of Lincoln to Kearney.
“I loved computers and
technology. UNK had one of
the best computer science pro-
grams around,” Wolfe said.
And while he was at first
pursuing what his parents saw
as a more practical degree, his
love of theater won out toward
the end of his freshman year.
The first show Wolfe performed
in was “Jack, or the Submis-
sion.” He played the lead role
of Jack. After that, Wolfe was
in, directed or helped with the
technical aspects of almost
every show at UNK.
One of the strongest parts
of the theater department is
how involved it allows one
to be with
all aspects,
Wolfe said.
Students get
experience in
acting, dance,
directing,
stage manag-
ing, costumes, lighting, sound
design and any other aspect
they’re curious about.
Wolfe graduated in 2012
with a degree in theater with an
emphasis in performance and a
music minor.
“Theater is what I was born
to do. It is what I love and what
I hope to make my living off of
eventually,” Wolfe said.
After graduation, Wolfe
moved to Omaha. He has
performed in numerous shows
since then and is the head
puppeteer on Aunt Molly and
Friends. The Omaha children’s
show just concluded its first
season. Wolfe said he also
works any and all part-time
jobs necessary to pay the bills.
While his dream is someday
to act full time, Wolfe said that
requires moving from his home
state, which he’s not yet ready
to do.
“I think, personally, it is bet-
ter is to go where the industry
takes you.
It’s all about
finding the
next step,
continu-
ally work
toward it
but enjoying
the scene wherever you’re at,”
Wolfe said. “My plan is in the
next couple of years moving to
Kansas City or Chicago, going
to a place where I know there is
theater that I can make a living
off of and enjoy it.”
Wolfe dreams of Broadway
or Hollywood, but for now he’s
content just to see where the
industry takes him. This sum-
mer, the industry brought him
back to Kearney. He directed
“White Lies” and “Black Com-
edy” at the Tassel in Holdrege
and then starred in the Harlan
County Dam Playhouses’ ver-
sion of the “Music Man.”
Performing may be his great
love, but directing comes a
close second.
“I love both. Directing a
show is performing without
actually being on stage. You
get to design and mold the
production and mold the actors.
They’re sending the messages
the playwright would like to
send,” Wolfe said.
AlthoughWolfe isn’t sure
where he’ll be in the next five
years, his love of theater makes
everything worthwhile. Getting
paid is necessary to live, but
Wolfe finds art and the way it can
affect people to be invaluable.
“I love helping other people
feel what I feel through perfor-
mance. Whether I make people
laugh or help entertain them, I
also love performing very seri-
ous pieces and helping them
explore the human condition.
I love helping people almost
explore themselves through
theater,” Wolfe said.
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Returning Home
Warren has traveled, taught abroad, recently returned to teach at UNK
UNK
Today
:
Personalities
Spencer Wolfe
By CASSIE KERNICK
Hub Intern
KEARNEY — Teaching,
traveling and musical theater
all have shaped Michelle War-
ren’s life.
After 21 years away from
her hometown of Kearney,
Warren returned last fall to
teach Spanish at the University
of Nebraska at Kearney. Being
back on campus felt much the
same but also very different,
Warren said.
“It’s kind of crazy because
a lot of the faculty has retired
since I’ve been here. The campus
looks so much better. They’ve
gone through a lot of beautifica-
tion here,” Warren said.
When she started college, the
school was still Kearney State
College, but during her sopho-
more year it joined the university
system. Not only did her sopho-
more year bring changes for the
school, but it also was filled with
a lot of personal changes.
“I started out with a music
major and minoring in political
science until I realized I hated
both of those. So, I switched
sometime my sophomore year
to a French and Spanish double
major,” Warren said.
She also received her teach-
ing certificate from UNK. After
graduating in 1992, Warren
moved to Estes Park, Colo.,
where she went to ride her
mountain bike and meet moun-
tain men. Her time teaching there
was short because she soon went
to Buenos Aires to study.
“I had also earned a scholar-
ship from Rotary International
to go to any university in the
world, and I had chosen to go
to Buenos Aires to the Univer-
sidad del Salva-
dor,” Warren said.
Upon return-
ing to the United
States, Warren
taught one more
year in Colorado
before moving to
Kansas to receive
her master’s and
doctorate degrees
from the Universi-
ty of Kansas.
Warren then
went on to teach at
Creighton Univer-
sity for five years
before moving to
Los Angeles to teach at a prepa-
ratory high school there. While
she is happy to be back teaching
college-age students, Warren
has found she appreciates things
about teaching all age groups.
“In high school, there is a
lot different emotional connec-
tion with students. In college,
there’s a bigger maturity level.
You can push more intellectual
topics. With little kids, you can
have fun. I’d bring my guitar
when I taught kindergartners
in the summer. Every age level
has its beauty,” Warren said.
Since her senior year of high
school, Warren has traveled
in France, Spain and Latin
America.
And while there have been
many cities she has imagined
herself living
in, Warren, who
has a 2-year-old
son, Guy, and
an 8-year-old
daughter, Maxine,
doesn’t think she
would ever perma-
nently live abroad
until much later
in life.
Warren first went
abroad when she
skipped her senior
year at Kearney
High School to
go to France to do
a full immersion
exchange program. Although
she hadn’t taken French classes,
Warren said she realized when
she arrived there that the trip
would be sink or swim. Lucky
for her, it was the latter.
“It was great, and it probably
really changed the course of my
life altogether because it gave
me the travel bug and major-in-
language bug,” Warren said.
Warren now uses these real-
life international experiences in
her classroom.
She may have been back at
UNK for only a year, but that
hasn’t stopped her from diving
into campus activities. Warren
helped organize the Interna-
tional Film series, UNK@The-
World that began in February.
“We just want to make sure we
can make the films accessible to
people who maybe don’t have a
lot of experience with interna-
tional films,” Warren said.
The series showcased three dif-
ferent international films in three
months. Warren said she hopes to
expand the event next year.
Warren also plans to take
UNK students to study abroad
in Spain next summer.
When she’s not busy
teaching, Warren said she
loves getting to spend time
with her children and family.
Her parents, Mike and Becky
Evers and her brother Tim
Evers and Sarah Drackley and
their spouses and children are
all conveniently located in
Kearney. Being a member of
the Platte River Singers, doing
Zumba and going to movies
at The World are also some of
Warren’s favorite hobbies.
“I have a good balance,”
Warren said.
email to:
MICHELLE
WARREN,
assistant
professor
of Spanish
at the Uni-
versity of
Nebraska
at Kearney,
helped
organize
the UNK@
TheWorld
interna-
tional film
series.
Courtesy, UNK Communications
“It was great,
and it probably
really changed the
course of my life
altogether because
it gave me the
travel bug and
major-in-language
bug.”
Michelle Warren
Plans to Perform
Wolfe’s love for theater is shaping his life’s journey
“...I love helping
people
almost explore themselves
through theater.”
Spencer Wolfe
Spencer Wolfe, Courtesy
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA
at Kearney graduate Spencer
Wolfe holds Princeton, a rod puppet from the coming-of-age mu-
sical, “Avenue Q.” It was the Wolfe’s first professional puppetry
show after being involved with amateur puppetry for most of his
life.
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