Jon Becraft, Performer

Name: Jon Becraft
Hometown: Carrollton, Kentucky
Year: Senior
Major: Theatre
Evil Petting Zoo President

Jon Becraft is a leading actor on Hanover's campus. From acting to directing to singing and playing musical instruments, Jon can do it all and will do it all. Over his past four years at Hanover, Jon has reached out to the students and faculty in order to provide the small campus with entertainment in any way he could. Now, as a senior, Jon will be moving on from Hanover with aspirations to continue on performing and entertaining wherever he goes next in life.

Why did you decide to come to Hanover?

Hanover was only 30 minutes away from my hometown. I liked the smaller size because there would be more opportunities with theatre and other programs on campus. If there were a graduates program here, I wouldn't have had half as much stage time.

When and why did you begin acting? In the third grade I was playing Santa Clause and had to perform in front of crowd for the first time. I had a pillow on my stomach, and I realized the audience really liked that and thought it was funny. Inbetween acts, I put in 4 more pillows, and the crowd laughed harder. I realized I was able to directly affect how a lot of people reacted to me and felt. I knew then that I wanted to do this forever.

How many plays have you written, directed or acted in while at Hanover College? I perform in about 4 plays a year. I wrote a full-length play which was directed by Mark Fearnow, a theatre professor. My senior IS was a play that I wrote, directed and acted in on campus. I also wrote a 10-minute play and one act which was performed at the American College Theatre Festival.

What is your favorite aspect of acting? My favorite part is getting to engage with an audience. Acting is something communal that is shared between an artist and the audience. The more active the audience the better.

What is your favorite type of acting? My favorite type of acting is comedy. I enjoy it more than drama or anything else because it is an easier way to affect an audience. It's also more comfortable when you're trying to be funny,. I enjoy it much more than being serious. Drama and comedy can easily intersect and reinforce eachother, though. Sometimes we laugh at really dark and serious things.

When did you begin to branch out from solely acting? Acting was how I began. When I got older I realized how much I liked learning about how the story is told. I liked having control over the art that I was making, too.

Do you have any theatre-related superstitions? I do because people around me do. When I do say words like Macbeth nothing bad happens. So I'm not superstitious, but I'm sensitive to everyone else who is superstitious.

Who are your inspirations? My main inspirations are people like Andy Kaufman who saw being funny as an art, as a performance, as something to be really sophisticated about and not something that is easy or casual. Above anything else people like Andy Kaufman want a reaction from audience whether it be positive or negative. I think that should be any artists goal. Artists should want to make the audience feel something.

Explain what Evil Petting Zoo is and about your involvement with the group? Evil Petting Zoo is a comedic improvisation group that has been around Hanover for 15 years. I auditioned my freshman year and have been involved ever since. It has changed quite a lot over the past four years. When I joined group was doing short form improvisation which resembles a lot of the games like those on Whose Line Is It Anyway. Now EPZ does more long form improvisations that are a lot more complex, difficult and mature. I'm glad that I got to be apart of the transition.

What will you miss most about EPZ? I will miss working with a group that knows itself really well. All the current members are so comfortable with eachother which makes it easier. Any improvisation I do after this will be with new people.

What advice do you have for future theatre students at Hanover? As far as auditioning for theatre in general, remember that people are looking for courage and confidence. Be uncomfortable and out of your comfort zone. You can't be afraid to do something uncomfortable or offensive. That is true with any art form but definitely with improvisation.

Aside from theatre, what are your hobbies and interests? I've always enjoyed playing in bands. I can play a wide variety of instruments such as the guitar, bass, accordion, mandolin, drums, and a lot of other random instruments.

How many bands have you been involved with in high school and college? Describe each. I have been in five bands since high school. I was involved with two bands during high school, and I've been in three at Hanover. My freshman year I was in a folk band named The Ragged River Family with Kelli Fitzgibbon, Danielle Adney, Lydia Lovell and Brandon Cox. I was in a punk band with Brandon Cox named Blood Planet. Currently, I am in a band with Kelli Fitzgibbon named Prince with a Thousand Enemies. The last show will be on April 15th at Young House!

What are your plans following graduation in May? I am moving to Austin, Texas in fall to get involved with avant-garde theatre scene and art scene, in general. Hopefully I will have a job set-up before moving down, there. I have been talking to a lot of theaters that do really experimental plays and want to get involved in writing and acting.

Any last advice to the current and future students at Hanover? The best thing to do is just go for it. I started out playing music in dorm room basements inviting people to come and listen to music and hear us play. That's the best way to start and get people involved and excited. Bring it to them.