Emma Jorgensen, former GHS actor, to perform in 'Sketching the Soul' Goshen native had moved on to college theater study, and continues to grow into her career with Cornerstone Arts
Emma Jorgensen in a scene from “Sketching the Soul” at Cornerstone Theatre Arts (Photo provided)
By Geri Corey GOSHEN — During her growing-up years, lifelong Goshen resident Emma Jorgensen spent a lot of down time reading books and going to the movies. She passionately enjoyed these two of her favorite interests at that time, and still enjoys them today. And joined with her incredible memory — try playing Trivia with her! — Jorgensen’s interest in an acting career was inevitable. Jorgensen has a great supporting role in the Cornerstone Theatre Arts production of “Sketching the Soul,” a play by Jacqueline Lynch. It’s an intriguing story that’s described as a drama/comedy, and it lives up to that description. The issues are thought provoking, as well as having comedic scenes that bring sidesplitting laughter. Jorgensen’s interest in acting was sparked by the student plays that were — and still are — put on yearly at the Goshen High School. “I had seen “Beauty and the Beast” and was taken with it,” she said. “Then when I had the opportunity, I auditioned for parts in the plays.” Beginning in 2007, and then for each year until she graduated, she had roles in “Lil’ Abner,” “The Music Man,” “Guys and Dolls,” and in her senior year, “South Pacific.” “I always have been ‘theatrical,’ supported by taking voice and acting classes," she said. "But when I auditioned, I caught the excitement of a musical. I tried out, got a part, and ended up loving all of it." Besides the excitement of performing, Jorgensen also formed friendships. “I got swept up in the arts camaraderie," she said. "I found my niche and people who I clicked with. I had outside friends, too, but I found that the kids I bonded with in performing were there for each other, always helping each other whether on stage or off." Quite a few of her friends, even after high school and college, are still involved in productions one way or another. Playing the lead in collegeLo and behold! During Jorgensen’s first year at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., she was offered the lead role in the production of “Sleeping Beauty.” “It was challenging,” she said. ”There I was, trying to adjust to being away, to college courses, and learning lines at the same time. But immediately, I met other kids, made friends that lasted throughout my years in college. It worked out to be pretty sweet." The Theater Arts curriculum at Hartwick is distinctive in that students learn all aspects of stage production, including scenic design, lighting and sound, stage management and acting. Students work behind the scenes, as well as on stage. “I learned a lot about putting on shows,” said Jorgensen, whose college works included classical training doing Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” challenging productions, like “Carrie, the Musical,” a lot of monologues, 24-hour festivals, and working with the Honor Society for Theater Arts, an organization that she served as president. “I was part of a big theater family in college," said Jorgensen. "We sat together at lunch, roomed together, watched videos and supported each other." Jorgensen graduated with a bachelor's in theater arts in 2015. Shakespeare and historyIn 2016, she auditioned for Cornerstone and landed a part in Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost.” “I love working with Ken Tschan," she said. "He gives the opportunity for us to make decisions, and I have a lot of freedom to interpret as an actress." Tschan is the talented driving force behind Cornerstone. Jorgensen went on to perform in “History Alive: The Civil War” and Shakespeare’s “Mid-Summer’s Nights Dream,” when she was cast as Helena, one of the two female leads. “It was a good role,” she said. She also had the opportunity to help direct the recent production of “Tesla’s Letters.” Along with acting, Jorgensen currently is teaching afterschool theater classes through the Newburgh Performing Arts Academy, the Boys and Girls Club, and the middle school Empire State Program. “I was skeptical about teaching," she said. "It can be a thankless job. But after I started, I wound up loving it." Also offering a creative outlet for her is giving tours — in period costume — at Museum Village in Monroe during the season. What does acting mean to Jorgensen? “It’s always about finding myself in a character and showing that character to the audience,” she said. “I want to make someone feel something and walk away from the show thinking, and to find empathy for something, like a character or a situation that he didn’t have before — that’s what it’s all about, for me, at least.” 'Sketching the Soul'If you’ve never been to a Cornerstone production, “Sketching the Soul” would make a great first-time play to see. It has everything good live drama should have — quirky plot twists, stage action, and accomplished actors in lead and supporting roles. “Sketching the Soul” is being performed at The Goshen Music Hall, 223 Main St., Goshen from April 20-22 and April 27-29: Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. (2 floor walk-up). Reservations are requested. Admission is $12 per person, payable at the door. For more information call 845-294-4188.