December 2, 2012
The theater stage is the primary collegiate focus for Edward McCreary, but he has found that the combination of academics and atmosphere makes UGA a special place for students.
A.B. in theater, A.B. in economics
University highlights, achievements and awards:
In my junior year, I was lucky enough to have been cast as Richard Hannay in the University Theatre’s production of “The 39 Steps.” This was my first lead role at the university level and quite the undertaking. We had to put the show up in just more than a month, which was a shorter rehearsal period than I had ever experienced. Our director had such a strong vision of what the show could be, and that helped the actors open up their own creativity. I also became extremely close to my five other cast mates, as we were required to spend an average of four hours a day with each other. I still cannot believe we were able to construct such a raucous comedy in such a short amount of time. The precision of the performance and the response of the audiences is something that I will always be proud of.
Later that same semester, I took on a much darker role as Satan in the Thalian Blackfriars’ production of “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.” It was extremely difficult to make such an iconic and malevolent character so personal. I enjoyed pushing myself to truly struggle with the character and was often shocked and occasionally scared by what came out. Because a student group produced this, it required an incredible amount of collaboration and dedication by the cast to stay within budget. The moving piece of theater that we created went beyond the story and affected not only ourselves, but everyone that came to see the play as well. That’s the best compliment I can give to a production.
At the end of the year, I was honored and humbled to receive the Chuck Baker Award in Drama that is given in memory of a UGA professor with a passion for theater. It allowed me to continue my education by studying abroad as well as opening up future opportunities that could help me after graduation.
I also was awarded the Charter Scholarship all four years as part of my acceptance into the Honors Program, which has been an invaluable part of my academic progress.
St. Pius X High School
I am a student assistant in the shelving department at the main library.
Family Ties to UGA:
I am the first Bulldog in my family, but I also managed to convert my dad to cheer for UGA when he used to be a Gator.
I chose to attend UGA because...
… the Honors Program is an attractive option when it comes to undergraduate education. I was accepted into Northwestern as well, but the combination of academics and atmosphere made UGA too hard of a deal to pass up. I know my parents appreciate being able to come and see all of my performances as well as getting to have me home more often.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
… going to see the Bulldog baseball team play at Foley Field. I have been a baseball lover my entire life and really enjoy getting to see the high level of play in the SEC for free.
I also go see as many performances as possible. Between incredible pieces like “Carmina Burana” at the School of Music to the plethora of student productions within the theater department, there is never a lack of things to attend. I can get not only a great entertainment value, but also learn more about my own craft by observing the talented work of others.
When I have free time, I like...
… to do absolutely nothing. Between rehearsals, work and class, I rarely have any time to stop and take a breath. Often I will just grab a quick nap in the student lounge of the Fine Arts Building. When the weather is nice, I like to meet up with friends at Herty Field and just sit in the grass.
The craziest thing I've done is...
… after a 12-hour flight back from Rome after my Cortona study abroad trip, I had less than a 10-hour turnaround before hopping on another plane to go across the country to San Francisco for a summer program at the American Conservatory Theater. I went from a country where I couldn’t speak the language but knew a few people to a bustling city where I didn’t know a soul. It was an unforgettable experience.
My favorite place to study is...
… the seventh floor of the library in the back corner. The desk there is usually occupied, but it sits under a window that overlooks Sanford Stadium and the rest of campus. The beautiful view is a welcome distraction that helps keep me from getting stressed while studying.
My favorite professor is...
… the entire performance faculty in the theater department. Their wealth of knowledge and experience gives them an incredible range of teaching techniques that give me a great diversity in my study. George Contini has been an especially important influence. He has given me wonderful guidance not only in class and in production, but encourages professionalism that will help carry me into my pursuit of acting as a career.
My favorite professor in the economics department is David Mustard. He had a bit of a head start because of my interest in the justice system, but his Law and Economics class made me excited to engage my mind in class each day and expand my knowledge on the subject. He found such ease in conveying his own passion for the subject as well as passing it on to his students.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
… Philip Seymour Hoffman. He is one of my acting idols who has an amazing range. Not only did he rule the screen in comedy and drama alike, he also acted as an artistic director for the cutting edge Labyrinth Theater Company for some time. I would love to get some perspective on my craft from such a seasoned professional who seems to have maintained his passion for high-level performance for his entire life.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
… travel around the world performing on as many foreign stages as possible. This would give me the opportunity to visit amazing places as well as meet artists and people from different cultures. Theater is an amazing tool for encouraging understanding, so I would love to examine how shows translated across national and cultural borders. It has always been a dream of mine to perform on a stage in London’s West End.
After graduation, I plan to...
… pursue a career in performance. Hopefully I can take advantage of Atlanta’s blossoming film and television industry. Also, I may attempt to use my general proximity to Disney to find work that could be an excellent steppingstone at the beginning of my career.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
… is “Zelda the Musical.” This show was the first completely student written, directed and produced project that I had ever been a part of and it was amazingly fulfilling. The talented cast worked hard to pull together a performance that was so much more than I could have imagined. Also, the turnout from the students created a buzz in the audience that was unmatched by anything other than a UGA football game. The audience was so charged and engaged that it opened my mind to the amazing things that students could create. I want to thank Grant Parker and Nathan Cowling for allowing me to be a part of the process.