Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year of Shows

This day last year, I was at my friend Alex's house on a farm in Waterbury, VT, with lots of friends and my boyfriend, John. My family doesn't have a ton of New Year's traditions, so while my parents meet friends for dinner and my siblings might attend First Night, a series of cultural events in the cities of Burlington and Montpelier to celebrate the new year, it's always a toss-up as to what will happen. Today, December 31st, 2010, I am in Bridgeport with Michael and his family, gearing up to meet his friends tonight.

I played the chef in the spring mainstage.
It's hard to believe how much can change in a year, whether you believe it is for worse or for better. In January, I prepared for a semester full of theater and applied to Saint Michael's Playhouse for my second summer as a stage management intern. February and March were chock-full of rehearsals for the college mainstage, The Notebook of Trigorin, in which I was acting the small part of the chef; The Actor's Nightmare, a drama club production I stage managed; and scenes from Almost, Maine, a senior exhibition project which I designed lights for. All three of these shows opened in April, so it was a busy month. I spent most of my spring semester gaining confidence in myself socially, preparing for the summer, and lots of time with John. I also spent time with my mother and my brother's fiance's family planning and attending wedding showers for Kate! My brother Dan proposed to her last fall on her birthday, and they planned the wedding for July 2010.

The set for Always, Patsy Cline, from the catwalk.  
Unfortunately, at the top of the summer at Playhouse, John and I decided to break up. Although that was hard, I still believe it was the right decision for both of us to find ourselves in the world and stop depending heavily on one another. The summer at Saint Michael's Playhouse was, in a word, amazing. The mix of interns was a perfect balance and we each made many close friends and contacts for the future. Starting with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, the season moved its way through musicals, adventures, and comedic drama with Around the World in 80 Days, Blithe Spirit, and Always, Patsy Cline (scenic design for the picture shown is by Tim Case). I met Mike, the electrics intern who I'm now dating, and although I lived off campus for the summer in an apartment with 2 friends, I got to spend more time with the interns and staff than the previous summer at SMP.

Photo taken by Andrew Liptak
During July, Dan and Kate got married! Luckily I got time off during 80 Days to attend the rehearsal dinner and wedding, being a bridesmaid. It was a fun and beautiful day, and I'm so glad to have a sister :) since Dan and Kate had dated for 8 years throughout high school and long-distance during college, it has only gotten better to continue seeing Kate and most recently start hanging out at their place and welcoming her to even more family events.

When the Playhouse season was over, I spent a week in Maine getting to know Mike's family. The fall semester started up, and junior year has been harder than ever. The beginning of the semester was especially hard trying to find my place at a college where I had never been without a close relationship and a group of guy friends. On top of the social confusion this semester, I was the President of the Drama Club, which includes many responsibilities such as running executive board meetings, planning events, and keeping things moving within the club. I stage managed a play for Champlain College at the Flynnspace called The Shape of Things, which was challenging and rewarding all at once. My grades were also lower than they've ever been mid semester, and I spent the rest of the fall trying to bring things back.

Eventually I made close friends with my suitemates and our "brother" suite, many of whom I'll be skyping with while in Spain and living with my senior year. My boyfriend Mike also was really amazing and supportive during this semester, even though we go to school 5 hours apart. Thank God for all those wonderful people <3 At the end of the semester we had a secret santa party and everyone helped me move all of my things out so Heather, who spent the fall semester in London and is returning to take my place both in the suite and as Drama Club President, can live there. The Drama Club also organized and sponsored a benefit concert for the Devlin family. Our advisor John Devlin lost his son last fall to leukemia, and his daughter Kat was diagnosed recently with myelodysplasia, a pre-leukemic cell state. We arranged the benefit concert to show our support and raise money for the various treatments and procedures they will need to undergo, and many thoughts and prayers were and are being sent their way from the SMC and Playhouse communities.

Over exam week, I stage managed the Moving Lights Dance Company's The Green Mountain Nutcracker, which performed at the Barre Opera House in December. Although it was stressful to manage the show and attend exams, I made it and the show went very well. I also fulfilled my mentor duties with the Drama Club by getting my star mentee, Alan, a job on the show as a spot op and possibly work in the future (not to mention mentor-mentee bonding time!)

Yep, true love.
And when the Nutcracker closed right before Christmas, I spent days relaxing! My oldest brother, Andrew, proposed to his girlfriend of a year and half, Megan, and they are now happily engaged :) I spent the days leading up to Christmas (and Christmas itself) enjoying the company of my now-sisters and my brothers and the family. Now I am in Bridgeport, CT, for New Year's to meet Mike's friends and relax with his family before I leave for Spain, after which I won't see Mike for about 6 months. Long-distance can be very hard, but we're hoping for the best. When I get back, I hope to be working for the summer in a theater before starting my senior year at Saint Mike's!

As you can see, it has been quite the year for me, and although many things have changed I know I'm stronger and more focused coming into 2011. Living in a Spanish city for a semester will also change my life, and hopefully I'll be able to keep up the blog updates and reflect on how my theatrical career will change because of this experience. Thank you, as always, for reading! Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December, December

It has been such a long time since I last blogged! Oh no! Things have been very busy with the close of the semester approaching, as I'm sure you are experiencing or can imagine. The Drama Club hosted a mentor/mentee Thanksgiving dinner, which was a big success, right before break. My mentee Alan and I made mashed potatoes :) I am really proud of how far the program has come since it sort of flopped the past few years, and hope next fall is even better! Although we probably won't have specific mentor/mentee events in the spring, it is always good to have an upperclassman you can trust to call or ask questions or just hang out with, even after you start to feel at home here.

Thanksgiving itself was a really nice well-needed break for everyone, it seems. I went home after Christmas shopping with my Mom, and Michael came to our house for the break which was really nice! The family gathered on Thursday and, with much threatening from my mother on a kiddie table outside on the deck, we settled to owl-print napkins and a huge meal. We were so over-prepared for dessert, everyone is still working on finishing the pies and cakes now! Mike and I helped Mom decorate on Black Friday, and over the weekend we headed back to our respective schools for the last 3 weeks of classes and exams.

As far as exams go, I have 3 in the topics that are the hardest. Politics, Psychology, and Spanish III apparently don't have the presentation mentality that Lighting Design and Directing do; while I am looking forward to preparing an ACTF-style poster and presentation for Equus in Lighting Design and am almost done with my directing scenes and staging analysis for Directing, studying for those exams will be crammed between trips back and forth to the Barre Opera House, where I am stage managing The Nutcracker next week. The Directing I Class scenes will be presented in a showcase free and open to the public on Monday, Dec. 13th at 7pm in the McCarthy theater. The scenes do contain mature content and language, so be aware of that, but they are a wonderful mix of funny, scary, thoughtful, and romantic for an adult audience.

Also coming up in terms of SMC theater is a benefit concert called Make a Joyful Noise! to raise money for the Devlin family, strong members of the Saint Michael's community who discovered in November that their daughter, Kathryn, has myelodysplasia, a pre-leukemic cell state. The Devlins' son Patrick died last fall after a long struggle with leukemia.We are hoping to give the family as much support as possible while they go through Kat's bone marrow transplant in Boston! You can send donations to:
John Devlin
Box 161
Saint Michael's College
One Winooski Park
Colchester, VT 05439
You can also send small things to help them out for their trip to Boston for Kat's transplant. Here is a list of places the Devlins stopped frequently if you are interested in sending a small gift card:
Au Bon Pain, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Sbarro, Breuggers' Bagels, Panera Bread, Trader Joe's, Starbucks, Dragon Bowl, Bertucci's.

The benefit concert will be at 6pm in the McCarthy theater and includes uplifting music and dance pieces. A suggested $3 or more donation will be accepted at the door. I will let you readers who are unable to make it know how it goes! I don't know if I'll be able to write again until after exams and The Nutcracker are finished, so stay warm, enjoy the holiday music, and send a prayer out for the Devlins.