Campus Spotlight

“My parents couldn’t decide on either Tara or Fawn,” the St. John’s senior said. “My father is of native America Sioux decent so he wanted something close to his culture. My mother really liked Tara from “Gone with the Wind.” So they decided to blend the two together.”

TaraFawn Marek calls Cheshire, Conn. home, although she has lived in 23 different places since she was born. She was born in Texas and then moved to California.

“I moved a lot with my mother,” she said. “Most of it was before I was four. I have nomadic tendencies, I guess you can say, so I would love to travel in the future.”

She attended an arts high school for two years in New Haven, Conn. where she had to go to regular high school at 7 a.m. to take an extra class and then, around noon, she would leave for New Haven to study theater at the Educational Center for the Arts.

“You’d be there for five hours a day. It was really intensive and you’d have to take classes not only in your major but in other art forms.”

Marek was a theater major in high school with a focus on comedy. Although comedy is challenging, she loves to make people laugh.

St. John’s University, Hofstra, Fordham and SUNY Purchase were all on Marek’s list of schools to attend but she ultimately chose St. John’s.

Marek originally came to St. John’s as a computer science major. She wanted to design operating system platforms. However, with the way the major is set up, she wasn’t going to be given the opportunity to do so.

“I got a little frustrated,” she said. “So I switched over to English.”

It wasn’t until the end of her sophomore year that she got involved with the Chappell Players. She was recruited by Bill Cusik, the president of the theater group, who asked her to audition for “A Mid Summer Nights Dream.” She won the role of Hippolyta and thus began her involvement with the group.

Since then she has been apart of every show, whether acting, dancing or set and costume design. Marek has held the major roles of Antigone in “Oedipus Rex,” Desdemona in “Othello” and was a featured dancer in “In Sight.” She is also the costume designer for the upcoming musical “Pippin.”

“I think it’s important for actors to learn the technical aspect of theater,” Marek said. “I think it creates more respectful and knowledgeable actors. Design is so much more rewarding because with acting you can do great one night and then the next night, not so great. With design, you make something, it’s there and it’s permanent.”

When Marek ran for the vice president position of the Chappell Players, she created a checklist of all things she would like to see the group accomplish and she is proud to say that she has checked off many of those improvements from the list.

“I felt that the group had so much potential and I knew that if there was a time for an organization to grow, that this was it and I wanted to be a part of that and one of the forces behind it.”

Marek is currently applying to Brooklyn College where she hopes to get a Masters in acting. The pursuit of the study of acting is something she is very adamant about, although she doesn’t necessarily want to be a professional actor.

“I feel like acting is something I can really push myself in,” she said. “Acting is very demanding, both physically and mentally. I like that challenge.”

But from her experience at the Educational Center for the Arts, Marek says her first choice for a profession is to be a theater teacher. If that doesn’t work out, she would like to do something in the publishing and theatrical world.

“If I could combine the two, like work at a theatre magazine, that would be great,” she said.

Like many others at St. John’s, Marek’s advice is to “get involved.” She said she believes that everyone on campus should have a place where their voice can be heard and where they can express themselves. She also said that if there isn’t a group out there for you then work within one to change it or start up a new one.

Fifteen years from now, Marek hopes to have started a new artistic movement.

“I want to do something I feel strongly represents and belongs in our world now, something that has attachment to our world. I want to inspire others to create.”