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Ananias McGee ’17

When Ananias McGee ’17 decided to come to Lake Forest College, theater wasn’t even on his mind. Four years later, a play he wrote will kick off the Department of Theater’s spring season.

“It’s crazy to think I wrote a play that will be performed,” he said. In his script-writing debut, McGee’s goal was to show the audience what it’s like to be a black student on campus. He tells the story through the experiences of a fictional freshman woman of color.  

“I think people will be surprised at how funny my play is, even though it’s a very serious topic and has a message,” McGee said. Life On My Hands will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4 in Hixon Hall. 

This African American studies major and theater minor—who started college as a science major—is a Forester you should know. 

Q: What drew you to Lake Forest College?

A: A college counselor at my high school, Urban Prep Academy on the South Side of Chicago, recommended that I look at Lake Forest College. I didn’t know too much about liberal arts schools at the time. I only knew about the big, state universities, so that’s where I was applying. I visited Lake Forest in April of my senior year and I liked it. It’s close to home, so I’m able to go back every now and then. It’s a clean atmosphere and a nice campus. I liked the academics here, too. I figured that being on a smaller campus would be best for me. 

Q: Have you had experiences here—besides your classes—that have helped prepare you for your future career?

A: Working at the Sports Center front desk taught me about how to handle different situations, how to be patient, and to always look to be kind to others, no matter what. I’m also manager of the men’s basketball team. I film all the games and work indoor practices. I help out with some of the drills. That experience has taught me to be selfless and that it’s the little things in life that make the bigger picture possible. I’ve always been into writing. The first theater class I took was Advanced Theater Writing. The goal by the end of the class is to have written a script for a play. This year, I was asked to write a play for the spring theater season. That’s why I wrote Life On My Hands. In my time at Lake Forest College, I learned a lot about why I love to write. Through my plays, I can have a voice and I can share my message. I enjoy it a lot.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: I play video games, when I’m not busy. I like sports games the most. I also write poetry, and I play intramural basketball. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: Right now my plan is to go to City Year—a fellowship program where you’re placed into a school and paired up with different students to help them throughout their school day—and get out of state. I’ve been in Illinois my whole life. Working with youths is something I want to do. One of the important things I figured out about myself is that I want to give back to inner-city youths so they realize they don’t have to go down the wrong route. I want to be a mentor and make a difference.

Q: Any advice for new students?

A: Get out and explore the different organizations, clubs, and groups on campus. Doing that will help you find out a lot more about yourself and what interests you. It can even give you direction about what you want to do after graduation. 

Q: Parting words:

A: Time waits for no one, so live out your dreams.