Beyond his academics, Donovan is the current assistant music director of The Downbeats, one of Northeastern’s a cappella groups, and will play the role of Orcus/Ronnie in the Department of Theatre’s upcoming production of She Kills Monsters.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Donovan and hear more about his recent activities and his favorite things about Northeastern’s theatre/a cappella communities. Read more below.
Why did you decide to pursue a double major in Theatre and Environmental Science?
I was always a performer but never formally took an acting course. I wanted to dive deeper into the history and behind the scenes of the craft to become a better actor onstage and off. However, as much as I loved performing, my family encouraged me to pursue subjects I excelled in, sciences and math. I originally planned on minoring in Environmental Science to fulfill that, but I changed my mind when one day, I was having a conversation about the environment. I went on a tangent that made me frustrated because I was so passionate about what needed to be changed in the world.
It was at that moment when I realized that I needed to challenge myself to earn two degrees in things that I love.
How has your experience been with The Downbeats and the Northeastern a cappella community as a whole? Any memorable moments you’d like to share?
Being a member of The Downbeats is great! As a freshman, I was worried about finding a community where I could be myself and wouldn’t feel ostracized. Thankfully, the Downbeats welcomed me with open arms, and I have made so many friends. Being in the group has allowed me to grow as both a musician and a person. Even though you would think that the a cappella community is highly competitive and cutthroat, each group is so supportive of each other. At the end of the day, we’re all a bunch of music lovers who want to sing and perform together. One of my memorable experiences was the weekend of auditions when I decided to use 3 different songs for my 4 auditions. Luckily, I received callbacks from each group. I had to learn 2 more songs so that if I wasn’t feeling well, I had a different song that would be easier but still would highlight my talents without going so high up in my range. I got to meet so many new people that weekend as we waited to go into small groups or interviews.
What do you love most about the theater community at Northeastern?
I love the theatre community because of how different we are. No matter who you are, theatre major or not, the community welcomes everyone with open arms. The unique thing about Northeastern’s theatre department is that we are not only learning to be better performers and creatives, but also better members of society. We have full department meetings with faculty, staff, and students where we express how life affects us.
It gives us, students, the unique opportunity to be outspoken and to create change.
In these meetings, we see the changes in the department and our faculty standing up for us in the university.
Tell us about your role as Orcus/Ronnie in “She Kills Monsters”
Orcus is a Dungeons and Dragons character who is the former overlord of the underworld. He’s expected to be this big and mighty demon but turns out to be a super chill guy who wants to live a carefree life. He is originally reluctant when forced to join the main quest, but as the play goes on, he develops close ties with the party members and begins to care. Ronnie is the human form of Orcus. They’re both up to date on trends and offer a childlike whimsy every now and then. Orcus is comedic relief in away. Most of the time, he doesn’t want to fight, but he always gets the short end of the stick and gets his butt kicked. As his actor, I have to do a lot of stunts like falling and running while making it look dumb and funny which I find so fun. Orcus is the only male in the party, and I think his simplicity and carefree nature allow for the women to shine through. They get to show off their strengths and their independence.
Lastly, how have you learned and benefited from your various jobs on campus?
Working multiple jobs on campus reinforced my need to be organized and on time. There are times when I‘m personally responsible for allowing people into the building. It has also expanded my network and made learn from so many new people. I learned how to react work under pressure and to be accountable for my actions. Even though working three jobs is a lot, I wouldn’t be anywhere as close to the man I am today without each one of them.
Every interaction I’ve had has been a learning experience.