Yes, it’s summer. And everyone at my school was anxiously awaiting long days of care free playing in the yard, nights of bonfires and starlight, and, probably most importantly: no schoolwork!! Yay! I remember the freedom I felt in high school when I could literally not even think about an assignment for the entire three months of summer. And that was wonderful. But as a BFA, homework is kind of in the job description–even over our summer. And it’s not even the assigned kind; the kind that has a due date packed and grading all wrapped up in a nice, “I must complete you” package. The homework that I am focusing on this summer includes two parts: reading plays, and learning more about the craft in practical situations. The reading plays part is absolutely the most frustrating thing I’m trying to complete this summer, despite how simple it may appear. First of all, you have to find the plays. If your town has a well-stocked library, thank the stars above, for you are indeed blessed. Middleton does not. We have a shelf and a half of plays, and most of them are classics that I’ve read before, or will discuss at school. So nix on those. Thankfully, Wisconsin does have a great interlibrary loan program, so I’ve been using the “hold” option on my library card to my advantage: I think so far I’ve checked out about 20 plays? So there’s a good start. I have also raided my high school drama teacher’s stash, and she is a wonderful resource! She actually looked through them with me, and recommended her options based on must-read status, good monologue selection, etc. The second challenge, once you have the plays in your greedy little hands, is actually finding the time to read them. This summer, I am working forty hours a week. That means I have a little bit of time in the evenings, and my weekends, to accomplish all of the fun that I want to have–and to do my homework. Most days the last thing I want to do is curl up with a play. But I’ve taken the “this is due by the end of the summer” approach to kick my butt in gear. And sometimes it works. The third challenge of reading plays is: what are you reading for? When I am not stressed out about auditions, I read every kind of play under the sun. Last semester, I read a complete Sam Shepard set, despite the fact that there were almost no parts for me in his works. However, I am currently very focused on the upcoming fall auditions. And when I realize a play doesn’t have any parts for me (which immediately registers into no monologues for me), I have to squash the urge to put it aside. My advice is, read it all. If you have to read a few more plays to find a good monologue, so be it. I think it’s incredibly important to be literate on what plays are out there right now. Read, read, read! It sucks. Most of the time, I’d rather be reading whatever’s on my Nook, or the newest edition of Vogue. But sometimes you find a play that is just so perfect, you get that special “Oh my god I’m an actor” tingle. For me, the Pillowman totally did that. I’m still absolutely obsessed. Cannot get over it. ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore was another play that completely lit my acting fire. We’re performing it at school this year, and I am so itching to see casting and what direction the play goes! Yes, I’m not going to lie–I would kill to perform in it. But I am also so excited to see it in any capacity, because it is just that good. There’s the magic of theatre.
I will cover the second part of my homework, learning more about the craft, is such a vague statement that I’ll have to cover it in a later post. In the mean time, get reading!