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Lady in Waiting

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Each weekend, this graduate drives four hours to perform in the Texas Renaissance Festival. She is going back in history in search of a future in acting.

by Donna Parker

Aspiring actress Jennie Zurovetz, who received a double degree in history and drama from Trinity in 2012, plays a lady-in-waiting to the Von Cleves family (the character is loosely based on Katherine Howard, eventual fifth wife of Henry the VIII)-all as part of the Texas Renaissance Festival. As the 16th century fictional character Katarina Havener, she and her fellow actors bring history to life and attract more than half a million visitors to their performances each season.

"History is very much my thing," explains Jennie. "This historical interpretation makes history important to present-day individuals. Rather than the dry pages of history, this festival brings people alive by showing that they ate, lived and did normal things-they just talked and dressed a bit differently than we do."

Jennie says she approaches each acting job as though she's doing it for a big award.

"As romanticized as acting is, it's still a job," says Jennie. "One of my goals in my performance career is to be versatile and jump from film to theatre. Right now, though, everything is an audition no matter where I go."

This working actor is also exploring one of her other passions which is teaching. She's applied for post-grad programs at both DePaul for a Master of Fine Arts in Acting and Trinity for a Master of Arts in Teaching.

"I'm not sure I'm quite ready for the official classroom setting but I do want that skill set."

She had the opportunity to learn from some great mentors at Trinity.

One of Jennie's favorites was Nicole Marafioti, department of history, who teaches medieval and Renaissance studies.

"She had a large amount of enthusiasm with depth and breadth of study. There was energy and encouragement in the debate and discussion of history," Jennie notes.

"And I was in love with the entire drama department," chuckles Jennie. "In addition, Thomas Jenkins, department of classical studies, was so lively, expressive and brought the subject matter to life. He prepared his students for getting out of school."

Theatre was literally Jennie's life on campus where she took 18 hours of classes on top of working theatre productions 6-8 hours per day. If there was any spare time, Jennie hung out with her friends...talking about productions.

Nowadays, when not attired in 1500's costumes for the festival, Jennie loves to hike at Lost Maples and Skype daily with her boyfriend in Virginia but says her perfect afternoon would be curling up with a good book or sitting in an Irish pub listening to great music.

"Right now, I'm just opening several doors and seeing what comes back knocking."

You may contact Jennie at jenniezurovetzperformer [at] gmail.com.