An as­pir­ing artist with a paint­brush and a script

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Central Palm Beach County - - Police Blotter - By Faran Fa­gen

Rachel Hunt loved art grow­ing up and did a lot of draw­ing in high school. In col­lege, she went through a rough time and de­cided to take a paint­ing class to re­lieve stress.

“I love the soli­tude of it and the real sense of ac­com­plish­ment as you get to watch your paint­ing take shape in front of you,” said Hunt, of West Palm Beach.

In her 20s, she’s learned to blend her love for art with her pas­sion for act­ing. In The Play­group’s up­com­ing Boca Ra­ton show “Short Cuts 8,” Hunt plays Amanda, a frus­trated artist look­ing in the wrong places for an es­cape from her stalled ca­reer.

“I usu­ally play younger char­ac­ters be­cause I look younger than I am, so it’s ex­cit­ing to play some­one a lit­tle more ma­ture and closer to me in age,” said Hunt, 27.

The Play­group presents its pop­u­lar shorts pro­gram for its eighth sea­son, full of come­dies, dra­mas and sur­prises. The eight 10-minute plays by South Florida play­wrights at the Wil­low The­atre at Sugar Sand Park Hunt is a part of starts Fri­day and runs through May 13.

“As far as paint­ing, this is prob­a­bly the high­light,” Hunt said. “I’m ex­cited and a lit­tle ner­vous to have my paint­ing fea­tured so promi­nently in a play. It’s harder to say for act­ing. I’ve loved all the roles I’ve got­ten to play.”

She said the most fun she’s had act­ing was last sum­mer when she played An­to­nio in “The Tem­pest” at the A.C.T. Stu­dio The­atre in Stu­art.

“I never thought I’d get to play a bona fide Shake­spear­ian vil­lain and get to carry around a sword, and I def­i­nitely milked it as much as I could,” said Hunt, who ma­jored in the­ater at Stet­son Univer­sity, but took art his­tory and paint­ing classes on the side.

“I’m of­ten cast as char­ac­ters that have kind of an edge, and I think what I’m able to bring to them is a vul­ner­a­bil­ity that I hope helps the au­di­ence em­pathize with oth­er­wise dif­fi­cult char­ac­ters,” said Hunt, who grew up in Jensen Beach.

Be­ing on stage isn’t easy for Hunt, who suf­fers from ago­ra­pho­bia, fear of pub­lic spa­ces. It kept her from act­ing in her early 20s.

“My ago­ra­pho­bia is a big ob­sta­cle, but act­ing helps me cope,” she said.

An­i­mals also c a lm her nerves. For two years, she’s worked at a doggy day care and board­ing fa­cil­ity. In her spare time, she plays the trumpet and five-string banjo.

‘I usu­ally play younger char­ac­ters be­cause I look younger than I am.’ Rachel Hunt artist and ac­tress

CON­TRIB­UTED

Rachel Hunt, a painter-turned-ac­tress, stars as Amanda in The Play­group’s lat­est pro­duc­tion, “Short Cuts 8,” a se­ries of eight 10-minute plays start­ing Fri­day at the Sugar Sand Park’s Wil­low The­atre in Boca Ra­ton.

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