Keith Thompson Stars in Spotlight as Theatre "Renaissance Man"
By Kianni Johnson, Senior Writer
“He is awesome."
Mr. Blader, teacher of the Theatre Institute, can count all the ways in which Keith Thomspon is an exceptional student.
"He's awesome because he's in high school and balancing a lot of responsibilities and has a plethora of remarkable accomplishments. He's awesome because he understand responsibility and puts in the effort to succeed. That's why he's been successful. That's what makes him awesome,” said Mr. Blader.
Keith Thompson, a senior, president of the Theatre Institute, and captain of the wrestling team is becoming well-known.Throughout his high school years, he has matured, achieved, and earned respect from his fellow peers, family and the staff of Hillcrest High School. Balancing a bunch of activities besides acting is not something easily done for the senior in high school. However, our fellow Thespian President has risen to the occasion and put forth hard and determined work to get where he is now. His journey from a child to a freshman to a star actor of the Theatre Institute to soon to be graduating is one of the most inspiring stories yet.
As a child, Keith Thompson knew he would be the one to bring entertainment to people, not acting per se. He always showed and put himself out there as one who would be involved in the entertainment category. Despite him not starring in any plays as a child, at the age of 10, he liked the idea of acting. It wasn’t until he came to high school where he knew that particular talent was for him.
Moving on into his high school life, the play “Chained Dog” gave him his first big break. This play was essentially his favorite out of all the other plays he participated in and opened up a world he wanted to be in which put his foot in the door for acting. He wanted to inspire underclassmen. “You don’t have to be a senior. If you’re good at something then do it.”
Some people act for fun or recreational activity or because they want to “get out of their own skin”. Keith Thompson acts to bring joy to people but most importantly to convey a message. He believes acting can save lives, relationships, get your mind away, or simply put a stop to one doing something irrational. Now life as a teenager has it perks but can be “mad work” as teens like to put it. So how is it that Keith or anybody can balance academics, a social life, and an actor? Keith tries to set a time for everything. “ I usually do academics during school days, acting on weekends where I practice scenes and lines, and try to leave time for a social life,” he said.
Many actors or actresses have many reasons for why they started acting called “roots”. The roots, or inspirations, to Keith's acting were his girlfriend and the director of Theatre. They needed a male lead and were desperate for people. Most people didn’t think Keith would do as well as he did his first time; however, he started to like the idea of playing male lead.
Most people can relate to Keith more than they think. Believe it or not, Keith Thompson’s passion for acting comes from the neighborhood he lives in. The Basiley area in Southside, Jamaica, Queens is affiliated with gang and street life where most teens in the area didn’t do much. For Keith, doing extra curricular activities such as acting kept him off the streets and formed him into the person he is now.
Keith Thompson has been acting for 4 years now and has learned the responsibility of being a young actor. “He would be the first one to have all lines down even when he had a lot of lines. He knew his responsibility of having a big role”, said Mr. Blader. Mr. Penn, who is his current teacher for Technical Theatre and Film Making and who was his director in four productions, felt Keith was a good student. "He is a very passionate determined actor aware of his responsibilities who takes his scholastic and acting career seriously."
Keith has won many competitions and received many awards such as city finals, second place in the August Wilson Monologue Competition, and awarded Best Actor. With these accomplishments, without a doubt, Keith is going to get out of high school and have a successful future. He has many plans for the future. “I hope to go to college and receive a degree in biology, physician assistant, or something of the medical field. Also, I plan to work or receive more acting jobs.”
With these plans, it is obvious Keith can see himself having a bright future. Not only can he see that for himself, but so can his teachers who have supported him since he started acting. We asked three of his teachers the question that would predict Keith Thompson’s future: Where do you see Keith in 10 years? Mr. Meichsner, Director of the Theatre Institute and Keith’s teacher for freshman year global, had a lot to say. “He is excellent, hardworking, very intelligent, well spoken, determined, and wants to succeed. He is one of the best in Theatre and is a natural. Keith has improved and grown in maturity. In 10 years, I see Keith being successful leading or being in charge of something he might do”.
Mr. Blader also felt strongly about the growth of the “Renaissance Man” as he calls him because he does a lot of things. “He is fabulous, a good student willing to learn, and not afraid to do work. He has talent and diligence to make it in a world of acting. In 10 years, I hope to see him on Broadway.”
Mr. Penn felt he is “charismatic, likes to take the lead, be the best, and enjoys the attention. Where do I see him in 10 years? I can see him in New York or in Los Angeles working as a young actor."
Everyone can agree that Keith Thompson has grown and matured as a student as well as an actor. In 10 years, he plans on having a degree and working. Keith Thompson is definitely a star student. He has had the support of his teachers, friends, and his mother as well who has always supported his acting career, coming to almost every play he participated in. He believes overall acting is about “putting yourself into a character and showing yourself in that character."
Besides acting, he enjoys wrestling, Olympic lifting, and hanging out with his friends. His life inside Hillcrest High School has always been one of many that is very inspiring and passionate. Keith considers himself one of the main leaders on the Cross Country team, and he is also the Captain of the Wrestling team, played on the Volleyball and Track team, and is currently the President of the Theatre SLC.
With all his accomplishments, achievements, supporters, and a drive mentality, Keith Thompson is sure to make it in life. To all those who wish to follow in his footsteps, Keith says to “stay in school and don’t be afraid to take a chance because when you don’t take a chance, you won’t know what you're able to do.”