March Volunteer of the Month:

by Jillian Keith, TNP, Marketing Coordinator

18 months of volunteering, five productions, and one Broadway World award later – it’s starting to feel like our first volunteer from New Delhi, India is unstoppable. Since our Volunteer of the Month’s first production, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Aseem Upadhyay has become one of the most involved members in our community, racking up over 1,000 hours both on stage and off.

“I found The Naples Players (TNP) because I was looking into getting my acting chops back. I hadn’t acted in ten years and had heard great things about the classes here, so I signed up for one. My instructor at the time encouraged me to audition for my first play here and I shockingly got cast. One thing led to another and I’ve been doing shows here ever since.”

Aseem in By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

Since that class and his first production, Aseem has gone onto perform in The Game’s Afoot, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, and Harvey – all within the span of a year.

“I think I’ve improved tremendously over the past year and a half. In the beginning, it took me a long time to understand my character’s motives and what they would be like. During the last two shows, I think I’ve gained a huge understanding of my characterization, how every line reads emotionally when I’m on stage, and how to comfortably take up space on a stage.”

“This is an extraordinary group of people that I’m so grateful to get to work with. My directors have all been amazing and I’ve learned something different from each one of them. My castmates have been incredible and so motivating. I look up to them and learn from each of them as well. There’s a lot of support when it comes to the crew, stage managers, the lighting and sound teams, the costume shop – everyone. I’ve made a lot of close friends here who will all go and audition for shows together. We hang out pretty much every day. The remarkable amount of talent, my friendships, and the community keep me coming back.”

Aseem in The Game’s Afoot

Despite only returning to acting in 2022, Aseem has been performing as an actor and a musician his whole life.

“As a kid, I would imagine that, even in my everyday life, there were cameras around. I’d even have a musical score running in my head. Acting allows your imagination to soar. It makes me feel like a kid making movies in my head again.”

“When I’m on stage, I feel like the king of the world. Going out on stage for the final bow is one of my favorite parts of performing. When the audience is applauding and cheering, that means that I made them feel something with my performance on that day. I love seeing the audience happy.”

While most of Aseem’s time volunteering at TNP has been spent on stage, he also volunteers on our Enrichment Committee and helps the stage management team with line notes.

“I took a stage management class recently and would like to try my hand at it. I think it’s important to have an all-around perspective about how things work. It helps you appreciate all of the unseen hard work happening around you, and further recognize all the people who make a show possible. Plus, I think the skills I’d learn would further enhance my acting.”

Aseem doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. His “lifechanging” experience at TNP has shown him that a “home can be made anywhere. In one word, TNP is a community. It brings people together of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone coming together and volunteering their time to make a show happen from the ground up is just incredible to watch. TNP has made me feel at home, and that’s why I keep coming back. The resources that are available to you, the experts you get to work with…TNP is unlike any other theater.”

Aseem in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

“When I was a newcomer, I was made comfortable by the more experienced actors around me. I hope that I’m becoming that kind of actor for the other newcomers around me now. Put yourself out there, you never know what will happen. If you keep continuously working towards something, something always works out.”

Thank you, Aseem, for all of your hard work and dedication to this community. Watching you grow both on and off stage, and into a member of our community, has been great. Congratulation son your Broadway World award!

We love getting new volunteers into the mix! If you’re new to the area or just new to volunteering at TNP, don’t hesitate to join the fun.

Test your skills at the next audition or contact Pamela Larkin Carusotoday at 239-434-7340 ext. 104 to find out what other opportunities there are backstage and front of house.

Those interested can visit anytime or call the TNP Box Office at (239) 263-7990.

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