During the spring of his first year at Andover, aspiring actor Vincent Mocco ’15 walked onto the stage wearing high heels during the “24-Hour Plays.” His character, Ashley, took off her high heels and stabbed two of her friends after finding out they had been accepted to the University of Pennsylvania, while she had been waitlisted.
The youngest of seven children, Mocco has always pushed boundaries through comedy. He remembers watching raunchy movies and “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) to get inspiration, reenacting scenes for his siblings and parents.
“SNL was my biggest dream, and it would be incredible to do that,” said Mocco. “I would always watch Eddie Murphy, Jimmy Fallon and all the great SNL people. That was kind of my foundation for theater — dirty movies, good TV and having a big family.”
Mocco’s siblings and parents supported him throughout his early acting career. His father has a background in theater and helped Mocco grow as an actor.
“My dad was a member of the graduate theater department at Villanova University, and he was the one who went over lines with me and pushed [me] to do my best,” said Mocco. “He has always been there for me and supported my acting.”
Mocco recalls an elementary school project in which he was assigned a historical character to study. In characteristic fashion, Mocco decided to add humor to the his role as Paul Revere by wearing a cape.
“That performance was my first ‘star’ moment,” said Mocco. “It felt that way, at least. I did something, and it made an impact on people. My parents and teachers started to notice I had a talent in theater, and that was it. It just kind of went from there.”
Mocco’s interest in theater impacted his decision to come to Andover. He remembers that, while touring the school in eighth grade, he was excited to delve into the myriad of opportunities Andover offers in theater. Since his Junior year, Mocco has landed major roles in three plays and minor roles in several other plays. In addition, he has been cast in a number of DramaLabs.
Mocco’s first major role at Andover was in “Error 404,” a play put on by an experimental, student-run organization called the Andover Theater Project. The play, which was written, produced, directed and performed entirely by students, highlighted the dangers of technology at a boarding school. Mocco was the only Junior involved in the project.
“My [Junior] Spring, I got cast in ‘Measure for Measure’ as Mistress Overdone. I did a ridiculous raspy smoker voice and wore an outrageous wig, fake boobs and a giant fake butt. I was even rolled in on a wheelchair. It was absurd and definitely interesting. My first two roles here, I was in drag,” said Mocco.
Alongside his acting, Mocco began to write plays and short skits upon his arrival at Andover.
“During my [Junior] year, [Andrew Schlager ’12] really pushed me to start writing. He saw that I could do it, and he, [Susannah Hyde ’13] and I wrote scenes and did the plays together. That really exposed me to a higher level of theater that I wouldn’t have been able to reach without them,” said Mocco.
Mocco also has a strong interest in improvisational comedy. He is currently Co-Head of Under the Bed, Andover’s improvisational comedy group, and was a Master of Ceremonies at Grasshopper Night 2013, introducing each act with lightly scripted comedy.
“There was a basic script, but [Rob Irvin ’15] and I did a lot of improv. Each night we added and changed a little bit here and there. I just had fun with it,” said Mocco.
Mocco hopes to major in theater in college and plans to keep attending auditions, writing scripts and gaining experience.
“I love theater because there is no greater feeling than standing in front of audience, giving you their undivided attention. It’s a blast,” said Mocco.