Year (D)one.

This morning, I finished the last of the requirements for my first year of graduate school;  such an event should, probably, be marked with some self-reflection.

The year has been good. Challenging, and frustrating, and confusing, but very very good. Challenges were met, frustrations were overcome, and confusions were clarified. Naturally, new ones spring up immediately, but the obstacles make the journey interesting, so I won’t complain.

When you love something, someplace, or even someone, there’s a natural hesitance to get to know it better, at least for me there is. A year ago (to the day actually), I was ending my time at Messiah–a school I grew to love, but my time there did not start that way–and looking towards starting my time at MBC–a town and school I loved from my first google search. So, when the time came to move and start classes, I felt scared to get up close and personal with something, someplace, I adored from a distance.

My fears were unfounded.

Not to say everything here is perfect–there are plenty of quirks and issues–but the issues that we face are superficial, not integral. The actualities of the program and company might be imperfect, but the people working with and through them are good people attempting to do good things.

Reflecting on this year, the number of amazing opportunities I have had astounds me.

Within a month of starting classes, I performed on the Blackfriars Stage in a staged reading of The False One.

Over the course of a weekend, I heard more brilliant thoughts and met more brilliant scholars than ever before.

In my first semester, I performed as Hamlet, the Gravedigger, and Beatrice.

In the span of two weeks, I helped mount of a full production of The City Nightcap with Sweet Wag Shakespeare.

In my second semester, I directed one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite shows with some my favorite people.

In the course of the year, I have seen dozens of performances at the American Shakespeare Center, all of which make me laugh or cry, or frequently both.

Over a semester, I delved deeply into Macbeth and mounted a pretty freaking awesome production with my classmates.

In ten rehearsals, under the direction of my mentor I took on my biggest (full) role to date, and not only ended up with a decent performance, but had a blast doing so and learned a ton.

Looking back on all of this, I don’t know what I did to be so lucky to be doing what I love, where I love, with people I love. I am humbled and confused and incandescently happy.

Let’s do it again next year, eh?

 

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ASC: The Winter’s Tale

To commemorate the lovely productions from this season, I’m going to be documenting my thoughts for each of the shows (hopefully). Here is the first:

In staging William Shakespeare’s genre-defying play The Winter’s Tale, companies face three main obstacles: the bear, the time, and the statue. If the production successfully addresses those problems with a coherent and committed cast, the production flourishes. Luckily for audiences at the American Shakespeare Center, guest director Jenny Bennett crafted a heartwarming and heartbreaking fairy-tale, that barely flinched at the imposing challenges. Continue reading ASC: The Winter’s Tale

Detoxing the Bard

The Wall Street Journal published an article about an upcoming project by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The project involves updating or translating Shakespeare’s plays, but I am not too concerned with the project itself.

Adaptation and translation are important for interpreting Shakespeare. Perfectly valid endeavors; some turn out better than others; they are nothing to get too excited or upset about. I hope this venture of the OSF goes well, and am interested to hear more about it. That’s all for that.

What does have me fuming is this article spouting illogical at best, and deceitful at worst, information about Shakespeare’s contemporary relevance. Continue reading Detoxing the Bard

A Year with Gamut

Almost exactly a year ago, a friend mentioned that the Harrisburg Shakespeare Company, that I’d only vaguely heard mentioned, was doing a free performance of Antony and Cleopatra. I may have only seen a smidgen over the first half due to a thunderstorm, but in those 80 minutes, Gamut Theatre Group–and all the lovely people within it–caught my attention and my heart.

Continue reading A Year with Gamut

Ben Rector at Messiah College

First a disclaimer: theatre is my forte, not concerts. However, I went to a concert and it was splendid, so my thoughts shall be documented nonetheless.

Before tonight, I knew Ben Rector as a common voice on my favorite Pandora station (based off of Jose Gonzalez, in case you are curious), and not much more. After tonight, he shall be a much more prominent feature in my musical listening (more than worthy of his own Pandora station).

Continue reading Ben Rector at Messiah College

Welcome to Night Vale Live Show

Last night, I made the irresponsible decision to venture 2 hours away to the Welcome to Night Vale live show in Philadelphia (or more accurately, small suburb outside of Philadelphia).

Even though it severely cut into my sleep, and even though I still had to be at school this morning at 7:30 am, and even though the car ride was cramped and uncomfortable, I would repeat every moment without question.

Continue reading Welcome to Night Vale Live Show

Women Playing Hamlet

This weekend’s dosage of theatre came in the form of a satirical romp at the Bard’s expense.

Gamut Theatre in Harrisburg was one of three theatres across the country working with the National New Play Network to promote William Missouri Downs’ new play, Women Playing Hamlet in what they call “a rolling world premiere“.

Continue reading Women Playing Hamlet

Hamlet at Gamut Theatre

I’ve just returned from seeing a Shakespearean production, and as per usual I am feeling overly emotional and deeply contemplative.

This evening featured Hamlet with the Harrisburg Shakespeare Company: a cut down production that brought you through the full spectrum of the human experience in just over 90 minutes. Within the first five minutes (maybe ten?), I found tears in my eyes.

Continue reading Hamlet at Gamut Theatre

Treasure Island by NTLive

In the recent stage production of Treasure Island by The National Theatre, Jim was a young girl (played by brilliant Patsy Ferran), rather than a young boy. She had the same desire for adventure, same loyalty for her family, and same wonderful spunk, but was just a she. The other characters did not ignore that she was girl, but the action and dialogue of the play addressed it.

Continue reading Treasure Island by NTLive