Student Spotlight: Khalil Flemming ’12

Khalil Flemming ’12 has taken the Andover Theatre and Dance Department by storm ever since he arrived on campus last fall. The Lower from Lynn, MA was cast in two consecutive Theatre 520 productions as a Junior (Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” and Molière’s “The Learned Ladies”), in addition to the Steve-nominated Drama Lab “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” Despite his impressive credits within the Andover theatre scene, few are aware of Flemming’s broad acting experience outside the Andover Bubble. Flemming spoke about his experiences to The Phillipian. Q: When did you start acting? A: I’ve been acting in school and church plays since I was about eight or nine, but I started acting professionally at age ten. Q: What companies have you worked with? A: I’ve worked with the Wheelock Family Theatre [Boston, MA], where I performed in “The Beanstalk, the Giant and Jack” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Also, I’ve played various child roles in productions at the Actor’s Shakespeare Project [Boston] in plays including “Richard III,” “Julius Caesar” and “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” Q: So, did you get paid to do those plays? A: With the Actor’s Shakespeare Project, I did, yes. Q: That’s really cool. So, doesn’t that mean you’re a member of one of the actor’s unions? A: Yes, I’m a member of AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and I’m also eligible for membership into the Screen Actor’s Guild and the Actors’ Equity Association. Q: Wait, “television and radio arists?” So, you’ve been on TV? A: Yeah, I’ve done a bunch of commercials: one for the Massachusetts State Lottery, another for F.Y.E., which featured the rap artist Ne-Yo and a few more. Other than commercials, I’ve acted in an ESPN mini-series called “Bronx is Burning” and my biggest TV credit would have to be “Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman,” a nationally broadcast PBS children’s series that replaced “Zoom.” Q: What was it like being on “Fetch!”? A: It was really awesome; I liked it a lot. Being on “Fetch!” gave me lots of opportunities to do really cool things, like go on publicity events to Chicago, attend space camp in Alabama and share a float with the Jonas Brothers at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Q: Where was “Fetch!” filmed and how often did you film? A: We filmed in an old warehouse in Roxbury, MA during the Summer of 2005 just about every day of the week from seven a.m. to five p.m., and then on weekends we did fieldwork and challenges. Q: How did you get to and from the filming site every day? A: My dad woke up early and drove me every morning and picked me up every afternoon. Q: Wow, that sounds like a busy summer—did it ever become tedious at times? A: Not really. This sounds cliché, but it was always really fun to be with the cast, crew and camera every day. I mean, even though it was a job and I had to take it seriously, it was still a lot of fun for all of us. Q: As an up-and-coming professional actor in Boston, what made you decide to come to boarding school? A: When looking into boarding schools, my family and I acknowledged that Andover’s strong theatre program would keep me busy while I was out of the professional theatre circuit. The theatre teachers here are also really great. Mr. [Kevin] Heelan [Instructor in Theatre and Dance] is hilarious…and ultimately for me, education has to come first—as they say, there are no guarantees in show business, so I need to have a strong education. And, honestly, if I can get into a school like Andover, why not go? Q: Lots of people have commented that the adrenaline rush on a sports field is akin to that of being onstage during a performance. Since you are both an athlete and an actor, what are your thoughts? A: I think that the rush is definitely comparable. I play JV Football, JV2 Basketball and Varsity Track, so I believe theatre is a lot like a team sport because, just like a quarterback has to throw a good pass so his wide receiver can look good, an actor has to memorize his lines so the other cast members look good. I guess other people are relying on you in both sports and theatre. Still, while sports remain something I’m good at, there’s something extraordinary about hearing the audience’s applause at the end of a play as you take your bow—that’s why I love theatre.