ETSU theater alumnus John Kaywood has done a great deal of theatrical work locally and in New York, North Carolina and Virginia since graduating in 2013.
While enrolled at ETSU, Kaywood stage managed “The Dining Room,” “Lysistrata,” “Antigone,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Dance Concert 2012,” “Patchwork Players 10-minute Play Festival” and “Eye, Candy”; acted in “Boom!,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “The Harry and Sam Dialogues” and “Robin Goodfellow”; and wrote and directed “These Words” and “I Was His.”
“I think my education in the ETSU department of theatre and dance more than prepared me for my work in the theatrical world after graduation,” Kaywood said. “Between textbook-style learning and my experiences on stage, I was given a world-class background in theater.”
Since his graduation, Kaywood has acted in several local productions and two off-Broadway productions written by Christy Alaska Reece Vance, who also graduated from the ETSU Theatre program.
“My first off-Broadway appearance was in October 2013 in a show titled ‘Feeding the Subject,’ in which I played Peter, a character who goes through much of the play without emotion but feels the sensation of love — or lust — for the first time,” Kaywood said.
“The play was accepted into a festival called the Bad Theatre Festival, which takes place in Manhattan at the Tank, a small black box theater space. We played the show twice. It was well-received, and the second time it played, it had a full house.”
Kaywood said his second off-Broadway appearance was in “Human,” which was selected to take part in the New York International Fringe Festival. According to the festival website, the festival has more than 200 participating companies from all over the world for about 16 days in more than 20 locations.
“Each one of the shows in the festival performed five times over the course of two weeks,” Kaywood said. “Being that the audiences were in New York, each audience was diverse and ample in number.”
Kaywood played the character Robin in “Human,” the main character from a “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“It took me a long time to get the physicality of the character,” Kaywood said. “He is really earthy and doesn’t think about his actions before he performs them, even if he runs the risk of hurting the other characters in the show.”
Kaywood will be directing the Johnson City Community Theatre production of RENT that will be playing in June.
Looking forward, he said he would like to continue learning about the “collaborative art” of theater.
“I want to continue to follow my personal mantra of following my heart, which always seems to lead me back to the stage in some capacity,” Kaywood said. “In following this mantra, I hope to keep things interesting and change people’s lives through exposing them to the art form I love.”