Angela Mantero

Religious Education

1992 Alumni

Biography

English, 1992
Shelton, CT
Assistant Director of Religious Education

Since Emory

I got married in 1993 and worked as an administrative assistant for 3 years until we had our first child in 1996.  I was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, as three more children followed.  In the wonderful craziness and chaos of running a family of 4 kids, my theater bug lay dormant. 

It was awakened in 2008 when my oldest daughter asked me to be the moderator for a production the kids were organizing at school – a montage of Disney songs with singing and choreography.  “We just need an adult to be present for our rehearsals,” she said, “you don’t have to do anything.”  It didn’t take but one rehearsal for the kids to recognize my value as a director, and I discovered how well my love for the theater meshed with my love for working with kids.  Before long, I was re-blocking numbers, adding monologues, ordering a multi-media slideshow, and making costumes.  It was a big hit with both the cast and the audience, and I was back in the game!

From there, I took a job as the Assistant Director of Religious Education at our church (where the kids are in school), and found I was easily available for after-school rehearsals.  I now stage two productions each year -- a fall play and the Easter Passion Play – and organize the school talent show.  It has been a great blessing to be able to use the theatrical expertise that I earned at Emory in working with middle-school kids.  It is, for me, the best of both worlds.

Highlights at Emory

I am proud to say that I was in Vinnie Murphy’s maiden voyage for Theater Emory, back in 1989 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream in rep with Michael Gow’s Away).  Vinnie was a tremendous influence on me during the three years that followed, as a director, a teacher, and a friend.  From there, I acted in Chekhov’s The Seagull, directed by Vinnie’s former students from Tufts University.  These students had formed The Actors Shakespeare Company and produced free Shakespeare in a park in Albany, NY.  I spent the next summer in Albany with them, performing Macbeth and As You Like It, as well as participating in their theatrical outreach program for inner-city kids.  Since we were a small operation, everyone did everything, from set construction to lighting to costumes.  This was a formidable time for me, fostering independence and confidence in my talent.

The following year, I acted in the original work, Moliere’s Shorts, a fanciful, musical romp through some of the master’s most farcical moments.  Then came my role as a mute clown in Starving Artist Productions’ Red Noses.  Both these tremendous works were valuable exercises in selfless, ensemble acting.  They served as a great life lesson in checking your ego at the door and working for the greater good.

In my senior year, I turned my attention to directing, first with Agnes of God for my independent study directing class, then finishing the year with Elie Wiesel’s The Trial of God. I am most proud of this last endeavor, as it was the catalyst for Dr. David Blumenthal’s Judaic Studies class on that Holocaust survivor’s works, which culminated with my production.  I also had the honor of corresponding with Mr. Wiesel several times throughout the production process.

I was honored to be a part of several of Vinnie Murphy’s creative initiatives.  I was a founding member of the Emory Issues Troup – students who presented a collection of improvised and student-written works on relevant topics such as date rape and racism; we presented these to Emory students through both guerilla theater and organized performances.  I also participated regularly in the Every Other Monday series of staged readings.  Each of these projects offered me a unique perspective of theater beyond the stage.  And, sprinkled throughout my years at Emory, I acted in many student-run short plays.  There was never a time when I wasn’t doing something in Annex B or the MGM!

In retrospect

Learning theater in such a nurturing, supportive, collaborative environment that brings students and professionals together in both the classroom and on the stage is extraordinary.  I call upon the theatrical skills I learned at Emory in my public speaking as a teacher and lecturer, as well as in my everyday interactions with people.