SDSU actress steals spotlight

Rose Aristeo

Rose AristeoReporter

A solo monologue theater opportunity fell in the hands of an SDSU student to help celebrate the 130-year-anniversary of the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Kimberly Graff, an English secondary education major, was requested to take on a role that would leave her solely in the limelight by Chief Financial Officer Wes Tschetter. On behalf of Theater Director J.D. Ackman, Graff accepted the request to portray Dora Donald, a former superintendent of South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, in a solo monologue.

Graff was chosen to take on the role for multiple reasons, Tschetter said. She is finishing her senior year and was chosen because of her talent as an actress, along with her high maturity level.

“I needed someone to do this … Someone who will enjoy doing this. I feel as though she is the right person,” Tschetter said.

The performance will last about 10 minutes and correlates with the school’s 130-year-anniversary this year. Donald headed the school for its primary years and was a key founder in the school’s motto of “visions of a brighter tomorrow through education.”

The event is on Sept. 23 at 5 p.m., at the Buffalo Ridge Resort and Business Center in Gary, the original location of the School for the Blind where Donald walked the halls years ago. It will be presented to the South Dakota Board of Regents, though open to the public as well.

Donald is remembered for her role as the first superintendent of the first school for the blind and visually impaired in South Dakota, established in 1900. The school has a long history of support and service to public education and has been under the Board of Regents jurisdiction since 1945. Originally located in Gary until 1945, the school is now in Aberdeen.

Graff said that many have influenced her as an artist but her high school theater director Phyllis Schrag was the one who told her to “just go for it.” Graff followed those words of wisdom, which encouraged her to accept the request and perform the monologue.

“If you ever want to try out for a show, just try it,” she said regarding theater. “It’s not as scary as it looks.”

Graff, 21, from Humboldt, has exceeded her own words of advice and is heavily involved with the theater department.

Graff said the job opportunities for theater students are limited, many of which do not offer actual jobs. To partake in this opportunity would allow for a professional, positive experience.

Graff said the theatre staff is welcoming, especially Directors of Theatre, J.D. Ackman and Ray Peterson. Peterson, who has directed Graff in four shows at SDSU, describes her as being extremely passionate for theatre.

“She is one of the theatre students who comes with a wide range of talent … she is a joy to watch from the time she enters the stage to the time she leaves,” Peterson said.

Senior visual arts major, Devanshu Narang has known Graff since his freshmen year. Narang, 21, said she has an enthusiastic personality.

“She’s a pretty happy person … she is very helpful, accommodating and loves to interact with people.”

Aside from the normal routine of school, Graff keeps busy taking on various roles within the Prairie Repertory Theatre. Currently, she is playing nine separate roles for the theatre’s comedy, Leaving Iowa.

Hoping to incorporate theater into her major, Graff encourages underclassmen to participate and finds Capers to be a good starting point to get involved.

#1.1599831:3751679127.jpg:Honoring South Dakota?s School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Kimberly Graff.:Honoring South Dakota?s School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Kimberly Graff will entertain audience with a ten minute monologue.:Collegian photo by Rachelle Sather