A Senior Spotlight on “The O’Conner Girls” Director, Jack Slevin

Jack Slevin is a senior at Hope College, studying secondary education with a theatre minor. Currently, Slevin is preparing for his student production of the play “The O’Conner Girls” which will be presented on Mar. 10 and 11 and 7:30 p.m., at the Schaap Auditorium.

“The O’Conner Girls” is a play about a family, [the O’Conners]. One daughter has been at home taking care of her father, while the other daughter has been out of town. The second daughter returns and, throughout the course of the play, you see the two sisters catch up while secrets about the family are slowly revealed. 

Slevin talked a little bit about his passion for theatre, saying, “I started theatre in 5th grade and continued through high school where I got to be in plays and musicals. My love for it has always come from acting. Between acting, singing, and dancing, acting has always been my favorite. The community and the magic of the theatre has always drawn me in. Originally, I was a double major with theatre and business, and I later discovered that education was my true calling and that I still wanted to keep acting in my life. I just love coming to rehearsal!”

Slevin has been involved in the theatre department through many different facets such as acting, assistant stage managing and, more recently, in the scene shop and through his student 490 project. During his freshman year, he was an assistant stage manager for “The Shakers of Mount Lebanon Will Be Holding a Peace Conference This Month,” and then during his sophomore year, he acted in “Twelfth Night.” He is also heavily involved in Odd Year Pull outside of the theatre department. 

Emi Herman (’22) and Jack Slevin (’23) in Hope’s 2020 production of Twelfth Night. Credit: Leslie Olivarez (’22)

All of Slevin’s work throughout the past four years have led to him directing a project on his own. He commented on his work thus far, saying, “I think I have learned more about theatre from actually doing it on my own, rather than in the classroom. I think learning happens best when I’m actually able to do it and enact it. I was able to gain a better understanding about how the different aspects of theatre combine together. The struggle for this 490, is that I am doing all of the roles except the acting. Eric Van Tassell has been helping me out a lot with this. I am directing, producing, light and sound operating, light/sound/costume designing. Not all 490’s are this difficult, and I was originally told not to go into this much depth, but I decided to do it anyway.” Student 490 projects in the theatre department are helpful, as you are able to take advantage of the tools that Hope has to offer while still having the safety net of a collegiate atmosphere. Projects like this are a great way to get your feet wet before going out in the real world and having to do it all on your own. 

The opportunity to do a 490 has been great for Slevin, as he is trying to teach theatre after college. He said, “After college, I want to teach Secondary English, specifically juniors and seniors within highschool. I also want to teach theatre, and direct plays/musicals. I also did the Pull, and have fallen in love with coaching, so I might consider coaching a freshman team of some sorts.”

Slevin posing with the cast of “The O’Conner Girls”- Ella Harris, Rachel Leep, Duclinea Licavoli, and Otto Brautigam. Not pictured: Elaina Organek
Slevin with the cast of his 10 minute play, “Chalk”- Sofia Wake and Ruby Hlathein.

Another great thing that has come out of his work on the project is the memories that he is making with his cast. “There is a large shift between highschool and college theatre. One of the people in my cast was telling me that it has been a difficult transition between high school and college theatre, and that through working on this project they had been able to find the magic of theatre again. One of my goals going into this project was to have a fun time and build a community, and I feel like I was able to complete that.” Through Slevin’s work, he is able to show people the magic that exists within the community of theatre, and the theatre work that he has found a love for.

On top of his time in the theatre department and his decision to do the pull, Slevin’s favorite memory at Hope was his time in London. “Last spring I was abroad in London and I got to do some scenic design when I was there. I definitely made some lifelong friends from that. We all met up in Philadelphia over winter break, and just had a great time. I was very lucky for the experiences I got to have when I was there, and I am grateful that they are still staying in my life again. I learned a lot about myself while I was there, and it was definitely an amazing experience and a great personal journey within finding my confidence.”

Slevin as a pull coach in 2022.
Slevin posing with some of his friends on his semester abroad.

Slevin is just one great example of how Hope’s education and community can make you a well-rounded individual, as the atmosphere provides you with many opportunities to get involved in just four short years. Make sure to watch Slevin’s 490 project, “The O’Conner Girls” this coming Friday and Saturday, Mar. 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. Here is the link for tickets.

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