By Alexia Helmer
As I sat in the coffee shop on Illinois College’s hilltop campus across from my fellow peer, John Love, I became very aware of the fact that Love is quite a popular guy. Love greeted almost everyone that walked by with a wide smile and a first name. It’s a given that IC is most definitely a small campus, so it’s easy to know a lot of the students that attend there, but Love isn’t just a well-known name at IC, he’s a well-known thespian in the Jacksonville area.
I interviewed Love with many questions about his future plans. He’s a senior this year and, as many seniors know, the first question you get from family, friends, and the like is, “What are your plans after graduation?” Love decided to take a realistic approach to this question when I laid it on the table, “The dream would absolutely be to be an actor. That would be amazing … but more on a realistic level would be public relations and advertising.” Love knows how difficult the acting world can be, and he dreams of one day moving to Chicago and seeing exactly where his talent can take him, but, even if he’s never able to do so, he’s very appreciative of the skills that theater has helped him hone, “I think theater gives a person confidence in front of people, whether it’s just performing or everyday social skills.” For this reason, he believes his minor in theater has complimented his major in communication and rhetorical studies very well.
Although Love mightn’t be taking that step to the city anytime soon, he does plan to stick around the area and take part in a couple local productions, including “Godspell”, at Hoogland Center for the Arts and “The Boys from Nantucket”, at The Playhouse on the Square. When asked about his next two big roles, he gave me a breakdown of how they both came to be. “The Boys from Nantucket” is a two man show written specifically for John Love and Jim Yale. Love described it as, “a clashing of sides … the younger generation versus the older generation.” The play, written by Ken Bradbury in a moment of genius encouraged by both Love and Yates, contains music which Bradbury requested that Love should write himself. On the other hand, “Godspell” is a musical which Love has wanted to perform in ever since he was a little boy, “Growing up … mom always listened to ‘Godspell’ and it just stuck with me … I auditioned just so I could say I was in ‘Godspell’ … and they called me the next day saying they’d like me to play Jesus.”
As Love gets performance-ready to play a boy from Nantucket and a singing Jesus, he will continue to be inspired by Jimmy Fallon and play his beloved piano, all the while doing some improv on the side. With genuine earnest, Love encourages aspiring actors to refuse to be influenced by their peers in negative ways. Anyone with a love for acting should “do it, stick to it, and if it’s something you’re really passionate about, then pursue it as far as you can.”