Student Spotlight: Wilson Tosta

Senior+Wilson+Tosta+spends+the+year+acting+with+the+Shakespeare+Theater+Company%27s+Young+Company+after+getting+his+start+acting+with+the+Theater+Without+Borders+program+as+seen+above.

Courtesy of Wilson Tosta

Senior Wilson Tosta spends the year acting with the Shakespeare Theater Company’s Young Company after getting his start acting with the Theater Without Borders program as seen above.

Six years ago, senior Wilson Tosta moved from Honduras to the U.S., exposed to the English language for the first time. Now, he is one of 16 teenagers selected to join the ranks of this year’s Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Young Company.

“Being part of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Young Company is the biggest achievement that I have successfully done towards my artistic career,” Tosta said. “I cannot express myself enough the happiness that I feel.”

Tosta speaks English fluently, as well as Spanish and Italian, but occasionally struggles with Shakespeare’s complexities.

“I’m the only one [in the Young Company] that English is not their first language,” Tosta said. “They can easily pronounce each word because English, it’s their first language. So they have been speaking English since they were babies but I only have been speaking English for five years. So I think that’s a challenge for me. It’s tougher for me than the others. So I think that’s the toughest part with Shakespeare: language.”

He developed his English language skills and his passion for theater with the Theater Without Borders program, distinguishing himself as a talented actor and leader.

“Wilson Tosta is incredibly creative…and he has a tremendous gift for comedy,” Theater Without Borders co-sponsor Leslie Checkin said. “His English is extremely fluent… He has been a wonderful role model for the other kids…. He’s a diamond in this school. He’s been a star in our program because he’s such a leader in drama.”

Audition

Tosta first auditioned for the company during his sophomore year with the encouragement of his theater teacher, but was not chosen.

“I wasn’t selected because I feel that I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have any experience,” Tosta said.

One year and eight theatrical productions later, a company representative noticed Tosta during his performance of Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and encouraged him to apply for the company’s Camp Shakespeare. Tosta was accepted and offered a scholarship for the camp.

He auditioned a second time after his junior year at the encouragement of the Young Company’s director.

“I was really nervous because I thought I wasn’t going to pass… But I did pass. I passed and I was really happy,” Tosta said.

Tosta, known as Wilson or Will by his friends at AHS, goes by a different name in the Young Company. Tosta’s acting community calls him by his stage name, Wilsòne.

“My stage name…is a great example of Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter; it is a trokie,” Tosta said. (A trokie is when the first syllable of a word is unstressed or unaccented). “[My stage name is pronounced] wil-SÒNE. On the other hand, my legal name, Wilson, is a verse… WIL-son… I find it a coincidence and interest that the pronunciation of my stage name is related to Shakespeare’s work without me realizing it when I came up with it… [at the time] I did not have any Shakespeare experience.”

Rehearsal

Tosta currently trains four days a week with the Company, practicing group building, breathing exercises, articulation exercises and other drills to prepare the students for their spring production.

Once the Young Company’s training is complete, the students will audition and then rehearse and perform a Shakespearean play in May. The company has yet to release which play the students will perform.

“[It is] intense training,” Tosta said. “The things we do are really physically demanding. It’s not for everybody.”

This commitment requires much of Tosta’s time. He dedicates five hours a day, three hours of which he spends in transit to and from D.C, for a total of 20 hours a week with the company.

“I don’t have time after school because I’m always traveling to Washington. The only time I have to do homework is on the bus and the Metro.”

Dedication such as this has set Tosta apart from his peers as a zealous, committed and talented actor who gives his best in every situation.

“He’s really committed and always wants to be involved in theater,” junior Kevin Arevalo said. “He always puts a lot of effort into every performance.” Future Goals

Tosta has also made an impression on his instructors at the Young Company.

“Wilsòne’s fantastic physical abilities struck us most when he auditioned,” said Young Company Resident Teaching Artist Jim Gagne. “Wilsòne is a highly dedicated and responsible STC’s Young Company student, we know we can always count on him to give 100% every day.”

Tosta hopes this opportunity with the Young Company will aid him in his dream of becoming an actor.

“I want to be on TV one day. I want to be seen. I don’t want to be behind something; I want to be in front of something. I want to be on stage,” Tosta said. “I want to make a difference. I want to inspire others. I want to be an artist, I want to be an actor, I want to be a dancer, but at the same time, I want to help others [and] inspire others to do the same thing.”

Tosta aims not only to make a career as a professional actor, but to use any profits and benefits of that career to give to the less fortunate.

“One time my grandma, she saw me giving money to [a homeless woman] so she said ‘God will give you more for having a kind heart.’ Her words really inspired me,” Tosta said. “I want to be an actor… because you know actors really have money, they get paid really well, so with that money, I want to make a difference. I just want to help people.”

Next year, Tosta plans to continue his education in theater by attending a performing arts academy and is considering the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Disney’s Dreamers Academy in Florida and NOVA Community College.

Wherever he goes, Tosta hopes to grow as an actor and explore himself and his passion.

“I just love being on stage. I can become somebody else. I can become anybody, everybody,” Tosta said.

After all achievements, Tosta attributes little credit to himself. Instead, he thanks the Theater Without Borders program for his success and position in the Young Company.

“Without Annandale Theatre Without Borders sponsored by Mrs. Leslie Chekin and Mr. Nick Liacopoulos I would have never been part of this company,” Tosta said. “I am so grateful to God for giving me the strength and for always opening new opportunities on my way… I am just so honored to be part of this phenomenal company that’s goals are to make us expand, explore and engage the art and beauty of acting and Shakespeare’s language.”