Seen and Heard: Julliard helps Rochester man build a career

August 19, 2018


Jake Faunce’s drama degree from the Juilliard School (earned this past May) promises to be a solid foundation for his future in the theater arts.

Growing up in Rochester, 22-year-old Faunce filled his resume working with several theater groups in town, including Otherwise Actors, Words Players, and the Repertory Theater before heading off to New York City in the fall of 2014.

Faunce’s acceptance into a class of 18 students at the prestigious arts school was a credit to his talent and hard work. The intense drama program met six days a week from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. during the academic year for four years. The format of this conservatory program not only built a “close bond” amongst classmates but also “required everyone be present” so that all students received the most of their drama education.

With a youthful appearance, Faunce has an edge over young actors competing for the same part. With his classical training, he has “an understanding of technique,” thanks to his Juilliard degree. As he shared, he wants to “make it look effortless and make people think, ‘Anyone can do this.’” Faunce’s dream is to be a working actor. While he isn’t set on stage vs. film, he hopes that someday he will have the luxury to choose. Since graduation, he has earned a callback for Harry Potter on Broadway and filmed for television in Los Angeles.

Look for Faunce this October on CBS’ “NCIS.” Faunce’s role will likely be a recurring character and his scene partner is LL Cool J.

A perfect match

Team Rubicon is a nonprofit organization comprised of military veterans and civilians promoting the mission, “serving vulnerable and at-risk populations affected by disaster.” Local 911 dispatcher Deanna Tompkins recently served for the first time with Team Rubicon in Marshalltown, Iowa, after the town was struck by a devastating tornado on July 19.

Tompkins’ husband, Jeff, retired earlier this month after 23 years of military service (10 in the U.S. Air Force and 13 in the Air Force Reserve).

Over time, Deanna has built strong relationships via social media, connecting with people who are passionate about supporting military families. When she learned about Team Rubicon, she knew it was a perfect match. With her training as a 911 dispatcher and a penchant for hard work, Deanna was the ideal volunteer.

When Tompkins arrived in Marshalltown, it was hard to “hold back tears” seeing the damaged town. She shared that a “very poor part of town was hit.” During her four days of work, she was amongst two waves of approximately 50 volunteers. The “grey shirts” (in reference to the official Team Rubicon shirts) worked in three capacities: damage assessment, strike teams (clean-up), and sawers (running the chainsaws).

Tompkins worked as part of a strike team, arriving at homes to remove debris and take down structures deemed unsafe. At one home, the owner had been told it might be months to get all of the brush and debris removed. Tompkins told her, “We got it,” and the crew cleaned up her yard.

Tompkins said she was surrounded by “like-minded people who just want to help.” She shared her “small world” moment: two Rubicon volunteers in Marshalltown were from her hometown of Roseville, Calif.

Her time assisting and supporting those in the aftermath of the tornado was so rewarding that Tompkins is saving her vacation time so she can serve on another Team Rubicon mission in her home state, assisting with the California fires.

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