Alex Gunderson might be a first-year student, but he’s already made a great impact in our community in his short time at Gustavus. This weekend he will play the title character in The Government Inspector, directed by Theatre Professor Henry MacCarthy.
“It was incredibly intimidating, but the cast has been incredibly supportive,” Alex said. The long hours that every cast member committed during J-Term were demanding, but also where friendships formed.
“I first met Alex over J-Term, when we were both taking part in the play. As a first-year student, he stood out right away to me because of his easy-going attitude and overall friendly demeanor,” Junior Comfort Dolo said. “It’s easy to be around him because of his humor and his general presence.”
Alex began acting in seventh grade and jumped at every possible chance to be in a production in both middle and high school. His experience shows in his skills on stage.
“On stage, he is hardworking and focused,” Sophomore Annie Galloway said. “One of my favorite qualities of Alex as an actor is his ability to incorporate feedback into a scene as soon as he’s been given it.”
“I was very impressed with how he was able to come into Gustavus Theatre department with such a professional work ethic,” Dolo said.
His fellow actors are not the only ones taking notice. Theatre Professor Henry MacCarthy was also struck by Alex’s talent.
“Alex is a talented, reliable and hardworking actor. He always comes prepared to rehearsal and gives it all when onstage. It’s a pleasure to work with Alex, and I look forward to many more productions with him in the future” MacCarthy said.
He doesn’t let his success in theatre go to his head, however.
“Working with him is also pleasant because of his humility. Alex never lets his achievements go to his head,” Galloway said.
English Professor Sean Cobb also knows of Alex’s humility.
“Alex doesn’t like to make a big deal out of himself because he’s humble, but I guarantee that he is going to do great things while at Gustavus and afterwards,” Cobb said.
“I gave it my all, and I’m just happy I got the chance to participate with such a talented group of actors and actresses. It’s really been fantastic getting to meet new people and working with a new director and getting to express myself through theatre,” Alex said.
Theatre is not, however, Alex’s only passion. He is an English and Communication Studies Double Major with a minor in Film and Media Studies, which will officially become a minor next year. These diverse interests are one of the reasons he loves Gustavus.
“I think Gustavus allows me the opportunity to go beyond my majors and experience courses and people that I wouldn’t experience otherwise,” he said.
Dolo has noticed his drive to explore multiple areas of study.
“He has such a passion for everything he does,” Dolo said. “I have no doubt in my mind that he will do great things at Gustavus, whether it’s in theatre or anything else he’s involved in,” Dolo said.
“I was very lucky to have Alex in his first semester at Gustavus in my Film Art & History class. Not many first semester freshmen get into that class, and Alex differentiated himself immediately; he is an exceptionally motivated and focused student for a first-year,” Cobb said.
As Alex is quick to say, his real passion lies in film, which Cobb noticed while having him in his film class.
“He is very knowledgeable in film, and he brings that knowledge to class discussions where he is articulate, friendly, and helpful,” Cobb said.
The way Alex interacts with his peers in the Theatre department has left a big mark on them.
“As a friend, he is perceptive and honest. He makes himself available to anyone in need, regardless of what the need may be,” Galloway said.
“Among the cast, he proved to be a valuable asset, not just because of his exceptional talent but also because of his ability to draw people in,” Dolo said.
One thing that his friends agree on is that this is not the last Gustavus will hear of him.
“Alex has a lot of potential to do great things, and I have nothing but faith in him,” Junior Connie Boatwright said.
Galloway also feels confident in Alex’s impact on the school,
“Though I haven’t even known him for two months, I am certain that he will continue to do fantastic things for the department, the college, and those he cares about,” Galloway said.
His friends are not the only ones inspired by him; Alex’s professors are also taking note.
“I love working at Gustavus because students like Alex teach me new things every day,” Cobb said.