Feb 102014
 

Let’s talk about theater. The rush of performing, the tight-knit bond between cast and crewmembers, the overall joy of presenting your work to an audience. Point blank, I love and adore the theater. Dartmouth’s theater, of course, is no exception.

However, I didn’t always believe that I would end up doing as much theater as I do in a regular term. In high school, I performed in roughly 3 to 4 full-length productions a year, and was ready for a break when I started at Dartmouth. I thought: “Oh I won’t do theater, I’ll try something new.” Well that lasted for about a week. I immediately auditioned for the production of Breaking E.D.E.N., a new work. I was cast in the ensemble and was whisked away into the wonderful world of Dartmouth Theater. While involved in the production, I met and became friends with a few of my closest buddies here, and learned about the Dartmouth Rude Mechanicals, Dartmouth’s student-run Shakespeare Company. Following the production of E.D.E.N., I auditioned and was accepted into the Rude Mechanicals or ‘Rude Mechs.’ Let me tell you how thrilling, challenging, rewarding, and exciting it is to put on a Shakespeare production every term. The most rewarding part of doing theater for me is the inviting community productions and courses facilitate. You stay cast members for life, and often find long-lasting friendships in rehearsals. Apart from new buddies, performing or assisting as part of the crew has given me a newfound sense of confidence and determination in my work on and offstage. I am more assertive and proud of who I’ve become thanks to training in the theater.

Production photo from The Liar, 2013. © Rob Strong

Production photo from The Liar, 2013. © Rob Strong

At Dartmouth there are so many ways to get involved in theater. You can audition (usually the first weekend of term) for the Department’s production, which performs around the eighth week of term. Recent productions include The Liar, Angels in America, Hairspray, and this term: Spring Awakening. At the beginning of fall and winter terms you can audition for the Dartmouth Rude Mechanicals, the Shakespeare Company. We perform once a term, choosing a different play by vote. All of the sets and costumes are borrowed or from our own wardrobe, we emphasize the ‘minimalist’ aspect heavily, but it also concentrates the performance on the acting and the Bard’s language. As an undergraduate you can apply each term for a ‘Your Space’ production through the Department of Theater. A ‘Your Space’ is a performance you put on with the resources of the Department like costumes and lights.  It can be an original work, a published work, or a staged reading—it’s up to you! Applications are usually due the first or second week of the term and perform around week four or five of the term. Finally, there are so many wonderful theater courses the Department offers, anything from Russian Theater to Acting I to Set Design to Speaking Voice for the Stage. Some courses require interviews, which occur the first day of classes. My advice would be to try and dapple in a little bit of theater while at Dartmouth either by supporting a friend in a show, performing, or auditioning for a student production.

Feb 272012
 

Hairspray Stage Performance

Yesterday, I went to see the finale of Hairspray, the Theatre Department’s winter production.  I hadn’t heard of the play before, but I can now say I love it.  The cast was simply stunning, and they had such a bubbly energy even after two hours of jumping, hopping, dancing, and singing, and so much practice leading up to their final performance.  Personally, I find it amazing that people can be so talented at singing, dancing and acting all at the same time, especially since I find each one in itself such a challenge.  It was great to see that students of all years, even freshman, were featured so prominently in the show.  If I had any talent at all, I would definitely audition because it seems like the cast had such a great time working together.  My friends and I were all in a euphoric state after experiencing such a heartwarming story.

After the show, I went back to my dorm to work on my math paper.  I’m currently taking Math 17, a topics course called Math Beyond Calculus, which focuses on number theory and its applications in cryptography this year.  The professor does an amazing job tying together many areas of math into a coherent course in an interesting field while giving us a taste of what math is like after the calculus sequence.  In the final week, all the students in the class have to study something not directly covered in class.  Not only is it a chance to explore anything that interests us outside the curriculum, but it also exposes us to mathematical texts and papers, encouraging us to piece together an understanding the way mathematicians and scientists do when they learn about new topics.  We are soon going to start giving presentations to the class, which trains us in conveying difficult mathematical concepts clearly and succinctly, a skill that will definitely come in handy in the future.  I had never taken a math class quite like this before, and I love it.  I’m so glad that Dartmouth has classes like this, and I plan to seek them out in future terms as well.  I’ve been rubbing Warney Bently’s nose every time I pass through the Hop – hopefully that will give me good luck for my presentation.