A Day in the Life: B.F.A. in Acting Major Teddy Santiesteban

As part of our Day in the Life series, we followed fourth-year B.F.A. in Acting major Teddy Santiesteban (Anon(ymous), Twelfth Night, Lost Girl) through his day to give you an inside look at what it’s like to study acting at The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance.

student studying

Santiesteban found acting at an interesting time in his life. “I randomly took a theatre class in high school for a fine arts credit, and just stumbled into acting from there,” he says. He made the decision to apply to the B.F.A. in Acting program after a friend began the program the year before. “The prospect of getting to be part of a competitive acting program while still staying within a short drive of my hometown, Denton, seemed too good to be true, so here I am.” Santiesteban is also the recipient of the Hetherington Endowed Presidential Scholarship, awarded to select acting majors.

As part of the B.F.A. in Acting program, students have the opportunity to spend their final semester living and studying in Los Angeles as part of the UT Semester in Los Angeles Program (UTLA). Upon graduating in May 2018, Santiesteban plans to stay in Los Angeles and continue to pursue acting professionally.

We followed Teddy through his day to give you an inside look at what a day looks like as a B.F.A in Acting major.

8:00am – Wake up, drink a LARGE cold brew coffee

“I’m really into caffeine”

8:30am – Ride the Riverside bus to campus.
9:00am – Arrive on campus and head to the Rec Center to workout.
10:30am – After working out, go to Starbucks for breakfast and spend time reading while waiting for class.

“I read A LOT while on campus during downtime that I spend by myself. Right now I’m working through Frank Herbert’s Dune. I’m on the second book, and if weird sci-fi is your thing or you ever wondered what Game of Thrones would look like 30,000 years in the future, this is definitely the book for you”

Woman teaching acting class

12:30pm – Portfolio Preparation with Quetta Carpenter (Lecturer, Acting).

“Portfolio Preparation is designed to ready students for the business side of acting and performing, something often not covered in typical acting classes.

Today we went into detail on technique for auditioning for commercials. We were asked to read over and come prepared to identify and discuss the simple actions contained in a few commercial scripts. Over the course of the class, we discussed the actions and tropes contained within distinct target audiences and the importance of being yourself on camera no matter what you’re doing.”

three students eating lunch in front of windows

2:00pm – Lunch with Luke Mire and Josh Cole (also B.F.A. in Acting majors).

“We usually always talk about video games, movies or Dungeons and Dragons (that I’m the Dungeon Master for), so you could say we’re just a bunch of nerds!

In between classes I’m usually waiting for the next class with friends, reading, listening to music or playing games, hanging out in the Winship atrium or the San Jacinto/East Mall area of campus trying to find time to relax in the midst of my busy schedule. Outside of class, I’m usually watching tv or movies, playing tabletop role-playing games with friends, working out and running.”

student standing in a class in front of a chaulkboard

3:00pm – Dialects for the Stage with Dr. Pamela Christian (Associate Professor, Acting).

“Dialects focuses on providing students with a method of approaching dialect in projects they might encounter throughout their career through the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Today we continued working on improvisation within a standard British dialect, voted on what dialect we would be learning next (we chose French) and ran through some dialect drills and exercises using lines of text and monologues.”

I chose this course because I’ve always enjoyed doing accents (I play a ridiculous amount of Dungeons and Dragons) and I had friends taking this class as well, so it seemed like a great resource to develop that skill further.”

copy of anonymous script

4:30pm – Go home to have a quick dinner, change and shower before returning to Winship for rehearsal.

“I typically try to work on lines during the day, working out bits and pieces of the script that were rough in my memory the previous rehearsal. I’ve run the swordfight in my bedroom a few times and I run lines in my head in my downtime at work.”

man standing in front of series of squares

6:00pm – Rehearsal: Anon(ymous)

“Typically, rehearsal begins with some kind of physical or vocal warm up and then runs uninterrupted barring a few small breaks throughout the four hour period in the evening. It’s a very intense few hours as all of that tie is filled with work on the play in some form or another.

This week, the focus of rehearsal was two-fold. On one hand, we had to be prepared to enter the theatre at the end of the week and begin the rehearsal process within the space itself; on the other hand, we had to rework various parts of the original rough sketch of the blocking that weren’t serving to tell the story of the show in their current iterations. On top of that, myself and Tiffany Thomas (“Namasani”) were tasked with beginning to think about and develop the personal details of our characters lives before the events of the play.”

director giving instructions to actor

10:00pm – Catch the bus back to Riverside and go home.
10:30pm – Make a snack, watch tv and spend time with roommate Cosme Flores, Jr. (B.F.A. in Acting major).

See Teddy Santiesteban take the stage as “Anon” in Naomi Iizuka’s Anon(ymous) October 4-15, 2017 at the Oscar G. Brockett Theatre. Based on Homer’s The Odyssey, a young refugee called Anon journeys through the United States, encountering a wide variety of people – some kind, some dangerous and cruel – as he searches for his family. From a sinister, one-eyed butcher to beguiling barflies, to a sweatshop, Anon must navigate through a chaotic, ever-changing landscape to find “home.”

Oscar G. Brockett Theatre
Preview: October 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Opening: October 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Additional Performances: October 6, 10-14 at 7:30 p.m. and October 8, 15 at 2:00 p.m.

Photos: Lawrence Peart