UC Merced Connect: Theater, the Bard beckon

TaNayiah Bryels didn’t get the lead role of Mary in her first-grade Christmas pageant, but it kindled an interest in theater, and she’s been acting ever since.

A UC Merced freshman from Santa Clara, Bryels has settled in with the local theater community. She’s playing the role of Benvolia (changed from the original Benvolio for this version), Romeo’s unsuccessful peacemaking cousin in Merced Shake-spearefest’s production of “Romeo & Juliet” from Friday through Sunday at the Art Kamangar Center at the Merced Theatre.

This is on top of the English major’s busy class schedule and her volunteer work teaching acting at Playhouse Merced.

Sophomore James McIntyre, who plays Romeo, says he’s done more than 30 shows since junior high school. But landing Romeo was unexpected.

“I will be honest, I was very taken aback when I got the part,” said McIntyre, a biology major. “It’s been pretty surreal playing the title role of a play.”

Both McIntyre and Bryels say it’s been a fun challenge (this is Bryels’ first role in a Shakespeare play), especially learning lines in Elizabethan English.

Literature professor Katherine Brokaw helped with that.

“I worked with every member of the cast to make sure that they understood all the words they are saying,” Brokaw said. “I also taught them about Shakespeare’s meter and how understanding those rhythms really helps an actor understand about delivery and their character.”

As much as he loves acting McIntyre, who grew up in Oakdale, says he’ll pursue medicine after finishing at UC Merced.

“I would love to get into more acting,” he said. “The problem is it’s tough to do if you’re not living in LA or New York.”

Bryels says she plans to teach and will probably pursue a master’s in English or French. For now her experience with Playhouse Merced is keeping her motivated to continue acting as well.

“It’s been really great,” she said. “I really look forward to doing more with them.”

‘Artificial’ matter

for novel technologies

Join graduate student Mark Kerfoot and professor Michael Scheibner for the next installment in the Frontiers in Science and Engineering lecture series.

Atoms make molecules and materials. Today’s scientists and engineers use these basic building blocks to assemble crystal structures that, again, act like single atoms and from which they build customized materials.

Kerfoot will introduce how we explore this “artificial” matter, artificial atoms, molecules, etc., and consider potential applications that could transform the way we compute and transmit information in the future.

Scheibner will give examples from today’s technology where “artificial” matter is applied or soon will be, in areas such as solar energy, “classical” computing, lighting technology and medicine.

The talk is at 10 a.m. Saturday at Castle Air Museum, 5050 Santa Fe Drive, Atwater. It is free and open to the public.