The State of the Finch

This has been a year of beginnings and ends, floundering and flourishing–a year of memories.

The adventures and misadventures of this year:

  1. I visited Mary Baldwin College for the first time, and fell in love.
  2. I developed an entire unit about A Thousand Splendid Suns for my senior students.
  3. I chatted with Michael Attenborough about As You Like It
  4. I was attached by a rabbit and have the scar to prove it.
  5. I met my neighbors for the first (and last) time as well all worked to dig out our cars from the snow.
  6. I got my students really engaged and interested in The Tempest and me, on my second to last day in the classroom.
  7. I called 911 for the first time.
  8. I buzzed the side of my head for an asymmetrical haircut.
  9. I spoke to my classmates about change and identity at the baccalaureate service.
  10. I said goodbye to Messiah College.
  11. I moved home.
  12. I experienced desperation and kindness in the search for a summer job.
  13. I danced like a monster at weddings and had no regrets.
  14. I fulfilled my childhood dream and became a “bologna cooker.”
  15. I said goodbye to my younger brother in thirty seconds as he left for West Point.
  16. I cried looking at the Milky Way in the mountains of Colorado.
  17. I went to the emergency room.
  18. I learned the basics on drumming.
  19. I applied to one grad school, and got in.
  20. I moved to Staunton Virginia, a year after I first visited and told myself I would one day live there.
  21. I was a bridesmaid and cried like a cliche romcom character.
  22. I not only played Hamlet in a scene, but thanks to amazing scene partners and a superb director, I got to explore him.
  23. I saw more lovely theatre than ever before, and have every intention to break that record this year.
  24. I cried listening to a lecture about Bottom in A Midsummer Nights Dream.
  25. I met brilliant Shakespearean scholars and didn’t make a complete idiot of myself.
  26. I shared a meal with two strangers because there were no more tables open.
  27. I was in a staged reading within a month of being in VA.
  28. I found that my classmates were more inspiring, challenging, and affirming than I could have ever imagined.
  29. I had a countless number of lazy days with my better half Alison.
  30. I played Dutch Blitz until I hated my entire family.
  31. I ran into the ocean with my four favorite people on Christmas Eve.
  32. I laughed until my sides hurt at a comedy show in NYC.

This has been an incredible year. For the majority of it, I have felt compelled to remind myself “Yes, this is real.” But more than my situation–where I live, what I study, etc.–the people that surround me take my breath away. The kindness, intelligence, humour, and humanity that I see around me astounds me. Without all of the people in my life, caring for me, checking in on me, encouraging me, this year would not have been the year it was. So thank you to all of those who have been with me through this year; I look forward to the next.

 

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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

#SmallTales: Play

3 months of anxiety, 2 weeks of nightmares, 3 days of nausea, 2 sleepless nights, and 6 hours of hyperventilating.

Now, she lies on the floor as deep husky voice tells her to feel her muscles lengthen and loosen and fall  through the floor for the last 15 minutes before she must abandon her sanctuary. But instead of dropping through the floor, images of dropped lines flood her mind bringing a tide of anxiety and nausea and nightmares and hyperventilating.

Trying to regain composure, her roommate’s question rings in her ears: Don’t you find it ironic that something called a “play” is ruining your life?

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

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