Many can recall the phrase “Laughter is the best medicine”. For one Keene State College student, humor has a special place in her heart and future career path. What began with trouble, ended in laughter. Aspiring comedian Dominique Pascoal said she believes her interest piqued during her years in secondary school. “I was always kind of like a hambone, the ‘class clown.’ I got in a lot of trouble in high school,” she said.
The KSC senior said, when she started getting in trouble, she would take the negative situations and use them as a comedic outlet to relieve the situation. Eventually, she began looking forward to going into the office to put on a performance of sorts. After almost four years here at the college, this theatre major’s passion for acting has shown as she has participated in multiple KSC theatre productions and improvisational performances. Pascoal was even nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, and is now the president of KSC’s Improv Club. Pascoal’s acting and skits have traveled beyond the walls of the Redfern Arts Center and even New Hampshire.
This past January, Pascoal traveled to Orlando, Florida, with her mother (who was attending a conference) and performed at an open mic event held by an improv club. She said she loved the experience and would love to perform stand-up more often but finds it difficult to do here in Keene; during the summer she is able to perform comedy acts in her home town of Manchester, New Hampshire.
KSC sophomore and theatre major specializing in acting Justin Park is a close friend and classmate of Pascoal. “I met [Pascoal] in improv club [last year],” he said, “When I joined the team after that first semester, we became friends and took similar classes.”
Park observed Pascoal perform on multiple occasions and said her style is different from others he has seen. “[Dominique] has this kind of energy to her that a lot of people can feed off of and will just listen to her. Especially when she can articulate herself well and is prepared to what she wants to say, it comes off greatly,” he said. He said she is often a “hootie-who” who gets people’s attention by her actions and very comedic style. He added that past her comedic vibes, people respect her as a leader as well as a performer.
Pascoal said comedy and positive spins come natural to her. “I like looking at the bright side of things. There is always a twist that you can make, whether it be dark or unfortunate,” she said. She said that creating positive reflections of negative situations are important to laugh and smile during hard times. Quoting Dalai Lama, she said, “Love and Compassion are necessities, not luxuries, and without them humanity cannot survive.”
Pascoal said she found her passion in helping others in her own way to help humanity. “Creating these characters and these stories… the way I see it is, ‘Wow, I hope this experience makes you aware of something’ and it would be awesome if you went out and acted upon it,” she said, “If anything, you get to escape for a while. Whether that be a comedy show, or a movie, or anything, I just want to contribute to people having the ability to escape from their own life.”
Pascoal said she encourages people to come out of their comfort zone and to follow Robin Williams’ advice: “You are only given a spark of madness, you must not lose it.” She said students who are too afraid to step out on stage are always welcome to come to KSC’s Improve Club to watch skits, get inspired and, hopefully, perform.
KSC theatre and dance lecturer PeggyRae Johnson said that all performers and entertainers go through hours and hours of hard work and training to get where they are. She added that art plays an important role in society and history as it is what we base our lives around. Whether it is music, art, cooking, or entertainment, Johnson said cultures are created around art, but it is very under appreciated in modern times today.
Pascoal said that we act every day of our lives, and comedy is her way of adding to today’s culture. Park said he wants to see Pascoal on television shows similar to Saturday Night Live, where comedy is valued and intertwined with real life problems and situations. Pascoal said, “A lot of people want to see me on SNL because I have a cornucopia of characters and bits that I just create on the spot… My plan is to go out to the West Coast when I graduate, get involved with an improv troupe, do stand-up and also do auditions.”
Whether she is the next Oscar-awarded actress or comedic talk show host, Pascoal said she is ready to make her mark in entertainment history.
Angelique Inchierca can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org