Acting has always been a dream of Sweeney’s, although her mother always told her to analyze the reasons she wanted to act, before diving in headfirst. Growing up, she wanted to be many different things, having dreams of being a firefighter, or even a princess. Sweeney eventually came to the realization that if she pursued acting, she could be all of them, instead of just picking one. Therefore, during her boarding school application process, acting was the most important factor in Sweeney’s choice of schools.
“I was very adamant on finding a program that wasn’t only great in shows and in production value, but that was also a place which would help new actors and train them in how to perform. I wanted a place that would take the time to go through each detail in every piece of work, and I could tell Deerfield wouldn’t disappoint in doing that,” said Sweeney.
Sweeney has found the acting program at Deerfield to be very versatile. It tackles several different genres of shows, and still handles the productions very efficiently.
“Mrs. Hynds isn’t afraid to push people’s buttons and make people think about the world around them. She helps you go into every detail of a character and fully flesh out who you are as that character, which really helps the flow of acting.”
Sweeney is only truly herself in the acting lab at Deerfield, her safe haven. In the acting lab, she can take risks and not be afraid of anyone judging her, which has translated into the way she approaches life.
Sweeney also notes that Mrs. Hynds has made her into the actress she is today, by being her pillar of support during her transition to acting and to Deerfield. Mrs. Hynds knows everything about Sweeney’s life, and is nurturing in dealing with her personal issues, encouraging Sweeney to channel these problems into her acting.
Mrs. Hynds presents the acting lab as Sweeney’s ultimate safe space. Now, Sweeney is able to leave all her worries within that space, and return to the stage with a fresh perpsective. The first Deerfield show Sweeney ever performed in was “The Children’s Hour,” in which she played a homophobic grandmother. In order to completely adopt the persona of this character, with whom she had virtually nothing in common, Sweeney had to overcome her fears and escape her own identity.
“It’s very hard for a new actress, especially in the black-box, where ‘The Children’s Hour’ was performed, to overcome stage-fright,” says Sweeney.
The approach Sweeney uses to do this is in a sense, “to come out of herself,” because she has to take on the role she is playing. Sweeney is always ready to switch between her two mindsets, one for the normal Kaycie, and another for the other more adventurous Kaycie, willing to immerse herself into any role.
As she plans to pursue acting in college, she says that her Deerfield career will definitely serve as a solid bedrock to her career.
All in all, what Sweeney has learned most from acting at Deerfield is to take risks, both in acting and in real life, which she observes as being “very counterintuitive to Deerfield culture considering people are so set in their routine ways.”
However, Sweeney is not afraid to veer off the “accepted” path and be herself in every way possible. She doesn’t care if people think she is weird, because in her opinion, that’s exactly what acting is weird. Sweeney’s experience in acting at Deerfield has allowed her not to worry about whether people are judging her, because as she sees it, “who really cares what people think anyway?”