Clark Atlanta University (CAU) Alumna reflects on the “Dramaturgy and Criticism” course taken at CAU and shared how she uses the learned skills and techniques everyday in her comedy and acting roles.
Graduating in the class of 2009, Kalea McNeil earned her degree in Speech Communications and Theatre Arts.
She hails from Fairfield, California and has since advanced her
talents in the comedy and acting realm playing roles in accredited television shows “Criminal Minds” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” while also performing stand-up comedy across the Los Angeles and the San Francisco bay area.
McNeil was propelled in her favorite course to dig deep into her acting and find authenticity within her work, “to make sure the language, costume, even the set pieces were authentic to whatever time, place, and space we were in,” she said.
McNeil recalled how pastimes at CAU polished her career in
acting and theatre she said, “Something that I dreaded at CAU and now find
useful in my career would have to be rehearsals.”
She continued, “Often time on set there is no rehearsal. You may get a quick second in hair and makeup, or you can run lines with each other in your trailer, but the camaraderie isn’t the same.”
At a young age, McNeil’s love for acting stemmed from her active
participation in her school plays, many oratorical competitions and church
events. Since then McNeil exuded confidence on stage and has coupled with her love for acting with her passion for comedy. While in college she was often the go to host for numerous events on-campus such as organized shows and school gatherings.
Upon McNeil’s graduation she proceeded to head back home to
California where she revamped the CAU legacy in her community by rechartering the CAU-Los Angeles Alumni Chapter and becoming president from 2014 until 2016. While serving as president of the CAU-Los Angeles Alumni Chapter, she volunteered in the South and East Los Angeles communities.
McNeil continues to build her already extensive acting resume and
currently has a role on the CW series, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” where sheplays the character “Hanifa.” McNeil credits talented actress Whoopi Goldberg for being a young black woman in Hollywood chasing her dreams “with relentless courage and without fear.”
She is yet another talented individual to cross the threshold of CAU’s doors and graduate with a unique capability to positively impact the lives of those around her using her art, mind and spirit.
“Ask for whatever you want, if they say no then you’re in the same position you’d be in had you never asked. If they say yes, then you win,” McNeil encouraged all college students with big dreams to win. “Expect the unexpected, and if nothing happens, be pleasantly surprised.”