Roanoke student has opportunity to work with actress Sigourney Weaver

Saint Mary’s College sophomore Caryn Garton (left), of Roanoke, stands with actress Sigourney Weaver, the Margaret Hill Endowed Visiting Artist for the year. Garton, a philosophy and theater major, participated in an acting master class with Weaver. Photo provided.

Caryn Garton of Roanoke was one of seven Saint Mary's College students to work with actress Sigourney Weaver and her theater director husband Jim Simpson in a master class on Sept. 26.

Garton is a philosophy and theater major of the class of 2014, and the daughter of Jill Gemmer and Rick Garton. She graduated from Homestead High School.

Garton auditioned with other theater majors to perform monologues for the workshop-style master class with Weaver. A total of seven students were selected to perform their two to three minute monologues. Garton performed Alice's monologue from the 1994 film "When a Man Loves a Woman."

"It was amazing to perform in front of Sigourney Weaver," Garton says. "I was really happy with my performance, but when you are performing in front of a nationally acclaimed actress, it is natural to feel like you can do better."

After the student monologue performances and critiques, Weaver discussed with the class some basic acting techniques and what directors look for in auditions. The class was open to other members of the theatre department to watch.

Garton had seen Weaver in the 2008 film "Baby Mama," and hopes to see "You Again" (2010) and "Abduction" (2011) soon. She says that Weaver's advice and example encouraged her in acting, despite it being a difficult career to maintain.

"When I am able to talk and work with such acclaimed actors, it reminds me that it is possible to be successful at what I love to do," she says.

After graduation, Garton plans to enter law school, pursue a master's in drama, or work in an improvisational group depending on the opportunities that arise.

Weaver was on Saint Mary's campus as the 2011-2012 academic year's Margaret Hill Endowed Visiting Artist. She also delivered a talk that evening that was open to the campus.