Kaufman '13 pursues acting passion

by Taylor Malmsheimer | 6/20/13 10:00pm

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"I think I'm just going to gun it and essentially go for broke for the next couple of years," Kaufman said. "If things work out by the time I'm 27, and it looks like it's a career that's fit for me, then I've found my niche. Otherwise, I'll probably fall back on my biology degree."

Kaufman performed in plays and musicals throughout high school and knew he wanted to stay involved with theater at Dartmouth. When he took Acting I his freshman spring, Kaufman met theater professor Jamie Horton, who suggested multiple times in the next two years that he stay involved with theater.

"That encouragement is what kept me in the theater department," Kaufman said.

It was not until Kaufman starred in "Higher Ground," a student-written play featured in the Frost and Dodd Play festival last summer, that he thought about a career in acting.

During his senior year, Kaufman acted in the theater department's production of "The Liar" as Geronte, the father of the protagonist. Kaufman met people who worked at the New London Barn Playhouse and encouraged him to pursue acting. As an apprentice, Kaufman is currently performing in "The Student Prince."

"I get to put on a really fun voice, and my physicality changes, and I become this really dumb lackey," Kaufman said. "It's nice to be the comic relief. I really like providing audiences with something to laugh at."

Max Samuels '15, who performed in "The Liar" with Kaufman and is also acting at the playhouse this summer, described Kaufman as a "crowd pleaser" and commended his versatility as an actor.

"He's great with voices," Samuels said. "He's really good at taking on a character and maintaining a character throughout a role."

Kaufman, who was a member of the Dog Day Players, said he loves to make people laugh with his performances. As he has acquired new roles and tried new things, he has also found that he enjoys creating a world that an audience can find relatable.

"Getting into a character and really stepping into a different world is so invigorating," Kaufman said. "It's the kind of thing that will get me out of bed in the morning if I know that's what I'm going to be doing that day, which is one of the reasons that I decided to take this leap of faith in myself and turn my back on a biology degree to explore this potential career."

Alec Ring '15 said he thinks that Kaufman reevaluated his career goals this year, realizing how important it is to pursue something he is passionate about.

"I think what was big for him was this transition of, this is what I really love,'" said Ring, also a member of the Dog Day Players. "I think he feels really confident in himself and is trying to put himself out there, and I think he's off to a really great start."

Samuels added that Kaufman has a sense of humility and down-to-earth nature that will allow him to succeed in a "wacky industry."

"He makes you feel good about yourself when you do something cool on stage," Samuels said. "He's the type of guy who will give you a thumbs up when you walk off."

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