KINGSTON, R.I. – Feb. 22, 2017 – Providence’s Catia Ramos was a textile merchandising major at the University of Rhode Island before she turned to acting.
“As a little kid I would watch all these movies and I thought they were magic, and I knew I wanted to be part of that magic,” recalls Ramos.
In her sophomore year, Ramos took an acting class at the University, and was an extra in several films. She is now a senior theater major at URI.
Her experiences in the program led to Ramos being selected for this year’s regional Irene Ryan Competition as part of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival at Western Connecticut State University. She was one of only 15 students out of 250 from all over New England to be selected a finalist.
“It doesn’t feel like a competition,” says Ramos. “It’s more like an audition of 300 people for a scholarship, and if you win the regionals you go to nationals.”
Ramos did not think she would get past the first round, never mind reach the finals, and yet she did.
Although she put in long hours of preparation, Ramos does not consider herself a very competitive person, and she was very laid back at the beginning of the competition. Ramos entered the competition with her partner, Maggie Papa.
“Maggie was just as laid back as me, but she was lying, she was really nervous underneath it all, but she approached everything with a giddiness and excitement that was fun seeing it through her eyes,” says Ramos.
The courses and her experience at URI were central to her success in the competition. She realized she had knowledge that others in the competition did not possess.
“When I went to the competition, I saw the product of our work,” says Ramos, “We are taught a lot, many people didn’t have the same technique we learned.
“Just because you’re in this small space (at URI) every day, it doesn’t define how good you are. Just because you don’t get cast here, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have talent. The world is huge. I urge people to do discover themselves in it.”
After graduating, Ramos wants to become an actress and would like to focus more on films, but she is also interested in different facets of the profession, like directing.
This season, Ramos is playing the lead in URI’s Theatre Department’s third production, The School for Lies. The play, based on Molière’s The Misanthrope, will be Ramos’ second play at URI.
“It is a farce meant to be “completely ridiculous,” says Ramos. “It’s about these people learning to be honest and truthful in a society filled with lies and hypocrisy.”
Ramos plays Célimène, a widow whose husband died two years ago and who entertains gentlemen in her salon, in 1666 France.
“Amidst all the crazy people, Célimène is probably the most normal one,” Ramos says. Describing her character, Ramos finds that “underneath her hard surface, Célimène is very sweet and misses the love that she once had.” The play is in verses, but Ramos thinks of it as a “modern take on a classic” that is original and that people will easily understand.
The School for Lies will run Feb. 23 – 25 and March 2 – 4 at 7:30 p.m. and will have additional performances on Feb. 26 and March 5 at 3 p.m. at the J Studio in the Fine Arts Center, 105 Upper College Road, on the Kingston campus.
Sarah Saltiel-Ragot, an international student from Sciences Po Rennes in France and an intern in URI’s Department of Marketing and Communications, wrote this story.