Young Thespian: Acting is the Reality of Doing Fortunately, Justin Ferrugia isn’t anything like Count Orsino, the character he’s going to play in Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night, which Colorado Academy is presenting this winter in the Froelicher Theatre.

Ferrugia, 14, gave a frank summary of the man’s issues. “He’s a rather annoying one, actually,” Ferrugia said. “Twelfth Night is one big love triangle with a complicated plot. Count Orsino loves someone, but settles for someone else. It’s a hard part to play because he’s not very faithful (to himself). The person that he wants to marry, he doesn’t really like her that much. Basically he just settles for someone else.”

Ferrugia, a ninth-grader, is enthusiastic about his first role in an Upper School play, where the acting competition is greater than in Middle School. “In Middle School, if you signed up to audition, you definitely would be in the show,” he said.

What was it like to audition for the Upper School play? “The real thing is it’s working with older kids, which is really exciting, because there’s a lot of talent in the Upper School,” Ferrugia said. “Some of the kids I worked with in Middle School, I get to work with them again. It’s fun to work with people I have worked with before as well as to act with people I haven’t acted with before.”

For Twelfth Night auditions, he says, “I feel it was a little more difficult because expectations are a little higher and the stakes are higher. And not everyone gets cast.” The Twelfth Night cast has about two dozen members.


“She really has a great understanding for Shakespeare in particular, and brings a whole new perspective to the whole department. When I’ve done Shakespeare shows outside of school, it’s been very traditional, big, extravagant. But with Dr. De Sal, it’s much more contemporary and much more real. You’re playing a real person and not actually acting.”


Ferrugia acted in two musicals in the Middle School, one in seventh grade, the other in eighth grade. He plans to try out for the Upper School’s spring musical. Dr. Jan De Sal is the new Director of Fine and Performing Arts at CA. “She is amazing,” Ferrugia said. “She really has a great understanding for Shakespeare in particular, and brings a whole new perspective to the whole department. When I’ve done Shakespeare shows outside of school, it’s been very traditional, big, extravagant. But with Dr. De Sal, it’s much more contemporary and much more real. You’re playing a real person and not actually acting.”

The ninth grader offers more about the importance of this approach. “Acting is the reality of doing, of being truthful in an imaginary scenario. How Shakespeare is done is big, boisterous, everyone is yelling all the time, which isn’t real. Emotions are not expressed as an actual human being would express them. What I feel she is bringing to this is how to express complex emotions in a very human way.”