Shrewsbury HS grad captures fun during ‘dramatic’ summer abroad
By Lori Berkey, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – McKegg Collins dressed up as the moon and leapt on stage when he was very little. He’s been acting so long, he can’t pinpoint when it all started. He just remembers the allure of being the center of attention. He stuck with it through middle school and high school, and now in college at Fitchburg State University. In August, he fulfilled one of his dreams: he was cast as Friar Lawrence in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
According to Collins, the Fringe Festival is an annual event when the city of Edinburgh shuts down for the entire month of August. Performers from around the world attend to present all sorts of different shows. It’s a mix of “good, great and downright terrible” theater, according to Collins.
Collins learned about the festival when he was a student at Shrewsbury High School. He said his theater director wanted to go and to take kids there from one of the school’s shows.
“Once I heard that the trip was a possibility here at Fitchburg State, I knew I had to go,” Collins said. “It was an opportunity I thought was too fun to pass up.”
Although Collins performed in musicals in middle school and in theater and competitions in high school, he didn’t intend to get involved with it in college. He’s a communications major with a concentration in film/video production.
“I actually stumbled into the theater department in college by accident when I took a directing class that totally revitalized my love for theater,” he said. “I plan to keep acting in shows here and directing some as well.”
Now that Collins has returned from the festival in Scotland, he hopes to either double major or minor in theater. His international experience gave him the chance to compare theater in the United States to theater in Europe.
“One thing I definitely saw in terms of differences in theater is the atmosphere that can be created and the mood you’re put in the moment you enter the space,” he said, “There was this one show entitled “The Trench” [set in WWI], and the second you enter the theater, this fog has engulfed the entire space, and there were gunshots and explosions, and all the actors were sitting silently on the stage.”
Collins was also intrigued on his travels when he saw that any place could become a stage.
“Shakespeare’s words, ‘All the world’s a stage’ rang true during that trip,” he said.
Collins is happy he made the journey. He was enthralled to be walking around Edinburgh watching magnificent shows. It was an experience he said he thinks everyone should try, along with going to more performances.
“It was an absolute blast,” he said, “I saw loads and loads of shows and saw a lot of fascinating places and met a lot of varied people.”
One day, Collins would love to go back to the festival, but not for awhile. He missed people from home and has things to do here.
“I am directing a show at school called ‘The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,’ and I think it is being put up next winter in February; it’s up in the air of the specific date, but it will be done.”
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