So, as some of you may or may not know, I go to Boston University's School of Theatre (go terriers) and it's really been a crazy semester. Since 90% of my life right now revolves around school, I thought the most appropriate thing for me to write about would be the pros and cons of attending a conservatory-style school. Perhaps this may be (or may not) be useful to any of you looking into attending theatre programs post-high school, or anyone who is just curious about the madness.
I get to see a whole lot of theatre for free. In the past month I have seen productions of The Serpent by Jean Claude Itallie, By the Bog of Cats by Marina Carr, Water By The Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes, The Duchess of Malfi, by John Webster, Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spiegel, AND Sondheim's A Little Night Music. It's been a month, and I'm overwhelmed (in the best and most beautiful way possible).
I have to fulfill crew assignments. After seeing Water By The Spoonful, I had to strike the lights. Some time later I was hanging lights for an opera. All this week I'll be front of house for a production of Delirium by Enda Walsh. That will probably entail checking tickets, handing out programs, and performing all the other duties your usual usher may have to do. Stagecraft is a lot of work. It really likes to eat up your time.
I have to fulfill crew assignments! Sometimes when it's past midnight and I'm stuck in the scene shop holding a drill gun because someone actually trusts that I know how to properly use it, and I just want to bang my head against the wall and question why I'm going to school for theatre. HOWEVER, the work we do is really important! Not only do I have a far greater appreciation for design and production theatre artists, but I learn so much about what goes into the work they do. I've had assignments on lights, costumes, scenic, paints, and so much more. It's one thing to be told in a classroom the names of different tools found in a scene shop and what the difference between a gobo and gel is (50 points to Gryffindor to anyone who knows the answer), but it's another thing to physically be thrown into the midst of it all and get your hands dirty.
Also, like I said, I'm working front of house this week. That means I get to wear all black clothing all week. If that is not a true gift, I don’t now what is.
I don't sleep. Okay, so maybe this is partially my fault, and perhaps it could be avoided. But I just knew that five page paper on the theme of truth in Maxim Gorky's The Lower Depths was going to be so much better if I saved it for the night before! (Okay, but actually guys, give yourself time to write your essays. You will think you have so much time when your professor gives you a month to write a paper, but it will quickly turn into no time at all. The feeling of mindlessly staring at a glowing computer screen at 4 in the morning, with four pages to go is not a nice one.) Sometimes this can't be avoided. Sometimes you'll have rehearsal or a crew call until midnight and when you get home you'll realize you still have homework for your Directing class and you won't finish it until 2 and then you have to get up at 8am the next day for your Voice and Speech class. Sometimes you know you have an early class tomorrow but you just HAVE to watch another episode of House of Cards on Netflix before you go to sleep. Sometimes, the only way to get everything done, and have a little fun, is to loose a little sleep.
Being surrounded by artists. If Acting Manitou is my home away from home, the School of Theatre would be my home away from Manitou. One of the things I love about being at camp is that everyone is passionate about making art and theatre. It's so infectious and inspiring. And the atmosphere here is very similar. I will admit that at times it can difficult to breathe when I'm in the same classes with the same people every single day and we all live with and hang out with one another. But it's so worth it because everyone I'm surrounded by are beautiful artists that I am so lucky to have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with. It's no different from camp, except instead of cabins we're in dorms and instead of being away from home for 3 weeks, we're away from home for 3 months.
Auditions. Guys. I'm bugging out just a tiny bit. I have my first School of Theatre audition tomorrow. In our program, freshmen do not have the opportunity to perform in any of the many productions we put on. This is simply because the pressure of adjusting to college life and conservatory life is enough to fill one's plate for quite a bit. But I've paid my dues, and my time has come. The last time I was in a full scale production was my Senior Spring in high school. And now I audition tomorrow, and I'm terrified.
Auditions. I'm auditioning tomorrow. I'm auditioning tomorrow! I finally get to put all of the hard work I've been putting in into action and I actually get to be in a real production and ACT! I GET TO ACT! WHAT IS ACTING???? I DON'T EVEN KNOW!!! BUT I THINK I LIKE IT! I FINALLY GET TO BE IN A PLAY AGAIN WEEEEEEEEEE!
There you have it. Can you tell I'm going bananas, just a little bit? But I wouldn't have it any other way. Oy, I miss my Acting Manitou family oh so very much. I hope all of you are doing well. Let me know if you're ever in the Boston area. I'll buy you ice cream and we'll go see a show :)