What’s on a Theatre Major’s Wish List?

The blogs I follow have all been publishing multitudes of wishlists…for the techie, for the man in your life, for parents, siblings, best friends, dogs.  I have loved paging through them, but I also began to think about the very distinct needs that a college theatre major needs.  I, of course, wished for all kinds of fashionable, cozy, lovely presents that any college girl would love.  But I also need some items that you would be hard pressed to find on any other twenty something girl’s list, unless she is also spending 24 hours a day living and breathing theatre.  So without further ado, here is what my little actress heart is wishing for for the holidays.

1) A corset

And before your mind goes to the gutter, this is not your typical Victoria’s Secret purchase.  I need a full blown, steel-boned, shrink your waist by five inches corsetry for my Chekhov class next semester.  There are some gorgeous ones, so I’m excited to make a purchase.  The thought of getting all strapped into it and having the air forced out of me? Not so much.

2) A makeup kit

My makeup lab next semester requires a very particular kind of makeup kit from Ben Nye, stage makeup provider extraordinaire.  This kit contains everything I need to turn myself into a zombie, or a fairy, or whatever other strange creatures I might be morphing into on Tuesdays at 1:00 (pictures will ensue; I’m sure you’re dying of excitement). 

3) PLAYS!

The thing that makes acting majors worth their salt stand out is the ridiculous amount of plays constantly in their possession.  Whether we’re reading for fun (I’m always reading Sam Shepard, though there’s a solid three parts for me tucked into all of his plays) or for monologues.  I brought home about ten plays to read over break (I’ve read one…slacking…) and I’m always looking for more.

4) The Playbill Broadway Yearbook

This might just be an obsession of mine, but I love these things!  They contain a record of every play and musical running on Broadway during the year, which is cool.  But even better are the questionnaires that they give each cast to fill out.  This is how I’ve learned some of my most hilarious information about Broadway shows.  It’s so wonderful to hear about backstage antics from the performers themselves…if you don’t feel like part of the theatre community yet, you will after reading this book!

5) More black clothing…

Le sigh…I always try to stock up on black athletic wear when I’m home, because I actually know where they sell it, as opposed to scrounging around desperately back at school.  It is both the joy and the bane of a theatre major that we constantly notice black clothing.  On the one hand, I’ve managed to get some really adorable things!  On the other, I cannot stop myself from looking at every single pair of yoga pants I pass with adoration.

6) A travel pillow

Again, this might just be me…but my neck and back are constantly sore or in pain from stress, class, and general mistreatment (number one thing on my wish list? A massage).  I would love one of those fluffy neck pillows, the kind with little foam beads and a furry cover, so I can drive in comfort, safe in the knowledge that I look like a total goon.  I would also love something for my lower back, because I basically spend all of my trips in a constant state of adjusting it. 

7) Plane tickets

Y’all…I just want to travel.  Because of the demanding nature of our degree program, it’s difficult to take any breaks from school that aren’t already on the calendar.  I absolutely love my program with all my heart, but sometimes I yearn for the adventures and study abroad opportunities that other majors offer!  For example, one of my best friends will be spending the next semester taking a course which requires him to travel all across Europe.  Dream. Trip. 

The moral of this story is that if your BFA has any time to take a trip, don’t hesitate to give them something a little out of the ordinary break at home.  Last spring break I went to New York City by myself for the first time, and it was one of the most enriching experiences of my life so far.  There is nothing like navigating and discovering a new place on your own, especially somewhere that is known for its culture and theatre!

On my wish list this year? Another trip over spring break to visit The Boyfriend (aka Navy Boy), or a vacation to somewhere completely out there with friends.  The Gulf, possibly?  Or someone could send me to Italy.  That would be alright, too, I suppose.

 

There you have it, some BFAbulous gifts to get your mind whirring for the season!

 

 

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The Merriest Blizzard There Ever Was

ImageHello, all!

So…I haven’t exactly had the time I thought I would to devote to blogging.  Or writing.  Or reading plays.  Or finding monologues.  Or getting my life together re: next summer. 

Oi.

As always seems to happen, I have gotten all caught up in the family hysterics that are Christmas.  So most days have been spent either 1) shopping for gifts with my darling grandpa, who is the sweetest man in the world, though he does take me on about six hours of shopping a day, or 2) baking all the sweets that my tiny BFA heart could want. Which is to say, all of them.

I finally get to have an oven! And therefore I have been doing all kinds of cooking and cleaning, and chores for mom too.  It’s interesting that as I grow older, I find myself far more willing to help out around the house, and less grumpy about it.  Maybe it’s because I know I will not be some housewife-y Cinderella while my daughter sits reading the latest Twilight spinoff.  (Sorry, mom).

I signed up to work three days over break because the lighting company I worked for this summer needed help at reception.  But yesterday, my first day back on the job (or, I suppose, the phone), we started hearing all these reports about horrible weather headed our way.  Now, the North is no stranger to snow.  We stoically soldier on through six inches of slush to get to school; we ponder the meaning of life as we cheerfully shovel out driveways up to our knees in the white stuff.  So the fact that they cancelled our work, all schools in the area, and even the finals at the local university meant that this was going to be one doozy of a snowstorm (or, as the newscasters are calling it, “thundersnow.”  Sounds like an episode of Thor, but I’ll take it).

I woke up this morning after getting plenty of beauty sleep to 16 glorious inches.  And it just keeps on coming.  This afternoon we have blizzard conditions, which I got to experience firsthand after I went outside to help shovel off the front steps and path.  It was fun for a bit–I love a good workout as much as the next girl–but after the tenth or eleventh time of getting my face slapped by a facefull of icy shards in blowing winds, I’d decided that it is a fine thing that I am a theatre major.   Good times indeed.

I plan to spend the rest of the day cozied up inside, working on Christmas gifts and sipping cocoas and wrapping presents…and, yes, finally reading a play. 

Unless I have to go shovel some more.  Pray for me.

Break is Here!

Well, almost.  One voice jury (which is the final for my 2 credit hour voice lesson: basically you stand up in front of all the voice teachers, sing a song of your choice, and then they pick one–eek) and I’m on my way to…three hours of packing and cleaning. But still, yay!

I’m singing Deh vieni, non tardar from Le Nozze di Figaro today.  I love the aria, and I’m kind of excited to put it on its feet in front of people.  So that’s good.  What makes me nervous is the “we pick what you’re going to sing” part.  The first song is kind of a work horse, and the other ones in my book aren’t exactly easy to sing, so I’m going to be one tired mama when I get out of there.  But it is the only thing standing between me and break, so I’m going to rock it!

After that I will be going home and packing.  Which is going to take forever.  Does anybody have an easy time packing?  Because I am the absolute worst.  I overpack like nobody’s business, because I think I need every single sparkly sweater, I have to have three pairs of yoga pants, and obviously, I need that sequined glitter zebra tank top.  I have a huge suitcase and a fifty pound limit, I should be fine! But I can already foretell that I will be stuffing my carry-ons with all the detritus that won’t fit in my big purple suitcase.  Le sigh.

This break is making me feel a little weird. I am so excited to go home and see my family, my friends, and even The Boyfriend (aka Navy Boy) for a solid two week (joy to the world indeed).  But I am definitely going to miss my people here, especially the ones in Christmas Carol I’ve been hanging out with literally every day for two months.  And I think the main issue is that I have been going so hard, for so long, that the thought of resting and relaxing freaks me out.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a horrible relaxer.  I mean, it’s bad.  The thought of sitting around and just watching movies all day, while it sounds appealing at first, quickly leads to panicking because there HAS to be something I need to do which I am not doing.  This break, I am really going to try to let go and just chiiiiiill.  And read plays.  And do Christmas shopping (which I haven’t started yet).  And hang out with friends.  And bake.  And carol for charity.  Maybe I will be fine after all.

Finals

Finals

Is insane.  Not because I have a lot to do–I had two major projects last week that were the most stressful things of the semester.  So yay I got them out of the way! Positive thoughts.

Finals week at college is crazy because of the vibe around campus.  Everyone is just radiating little subatomic particles of stress and frustration.  Sleep deprivation makes people look and feel crazy, as does the moment that you realize what’s going to be on the final was never covered in class.  Students fall asleep on the floor of the library, in their sociology book, in the middle of eating a sandwich.  It is insanity.

I know it’s easier for me to say, since I’m not cramming for a micro-econ exam or piano theory or whatever…but please take care of yourself during these crazy weeks! I’ve learned the hard way over the years that I do my best when I am happy, relaxed, well fed and well rested.

Here are my hard-won tips for a happy finals week:

1) Get Rest: This is really, really difficult.  The studying, coupled with the exam anxiety, makes it hard for anyone to get rest! But all nighters are really not your best friend. I promise.  Your brain pretty much stops working after you pass your natural bedtime (for me, that’s around 11:30 or midnight).  I’m not saying you shouldn’t get anything done.  I am saying that if you need to start a week earlier so you can go to bed at 1:00 instead of 6:00 am, try to make it happen.

2) Eat Smart: Last night, I caved and ate french fries for a late night study break.  How did I feel? Happy! For about five seconds.  Then I felt groggy, gross, and greasy.  Not really how I want to feel when I’m trying to work at maximum capacity.  Load up on fruit and veggies and complex carbs this week (like popcorn, whole wheat pasta or bread, etc.).  DRINK WATER! This is vital, especially for us performance majors.  Don’t use studying as an excuse to skip meals–your mind will not work at it’s full capacity if you are starving it for nutrients.

3) Do Something You Like: Yesterday, I melted a candle on my awesome candle warmed and took a bubble bath.  Yes, it took away from studying time.  But take thirty minutes you would have spent on Facebook and devote it to something calming and wonderful!  Do yoga, take a little walk, journal, read a book…it will take you out of the stress and get you focused again.

4) Indulge a Little: I’m not going to say that the calories don’t count during finals.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel gross after you over indulge.  But want a cup of hot cocoa?  Need that bar of dark chocolate peppermint bark?  I say go for it.  Sweet treats boost your dopamine and make you happier.  Do not go out and get a greasy fast food meal, though.  Save your indulgences for homemade sweet treats or delicious high-calorie health foods.  Full bag of pretzel chips and hummus, anyone?

5) Get Outside: Excercise helps your brain work faster and more efficiently.  If you can fit it in somewhere, go out and take a walk or a jog.  Even just enjoying the walk to your finals could make a difference in your day.  Take a deep breath of the fresh air and remember that there is a world outside of the classrooms.

6) Remember There Is Life After Finals: even thought they suck.  It is not, I repeat, is not the end of the world.  Take a deep breath.  Breath into focus.  Forget the stress, and just DO IT.  Life goes on.  I am getting through by remembering: I will be home in TWO DAYS. Two. Days.

 

Good luck guys!  And keep on trucking.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Godspeed, Christmas Carol

Well, and there you have it.  Our little show that could has finished.  As the Ghost of Christmas Present says, “My time…my time is done.”

Sigh.

I get very philosophical when shows end, apparently.  This Christmas Carol was a little different because we ended up taking apart the set at strike yesterday. The show has been kind of a holiday tradition at my school for the past six years, but next year we are moving on to other Christmas-y things.  On the one hand, yay! On the other…ah…change is scary. I am excited about a new Christmas option, obviously. But I will always harbor a little corner of my heart for CC, which I think is truly one of the most beautiful stories ever told.  Everything you could want is in there: a villain reformed, true love, cosy parties, creepy graveyards, funny characters, heart-warming characters, characters that look like death…and, of course, Christmas.  Being in Fred’s party was one of the highlights of my semester, and though the show has a long run, and we don’t always feel like we need to commit, I feel like I learned a very important lesson:

You do the show for the people in the audience who might never see another one. You do the show because there is a little girl out there who wants to do theatre someday.  You do the show because someone out there can’t be with their family this holiday season, and this is the only bit of Christmas they’ll get.  I do the show because I want to share my love for the holiday spirit to everyone who needs a little bit of it.

That is a damn good reason to do any show, and I will keep it in my heart.

Anyway, the last performance went very well.  My friend Val and I basically just chatter during the party scene, and we were living for every moment in it.  Strike only took about four hours, which is pretty good for something that housed a cast of about 50.  I spent a few minutes in the catwalk before remembering how deathly afraid of heights I am (hanging out to grab gels out of light fixtures takes me about 20 times as long…sorry, lighting tech crew), and I spent most of the night catching lights being lowered down.

I also got to sort hardware, help push a 600 lbs machine on a dolly around the building and over a catwalk, and other assorted funsies.  And after a quick Panda Express, fro yo date, bubble bath and homework session, I was all cosy and warm in bed!

Till I remembered that tomorrow (that is, this very morning) began finals week.

And sleep was no more.

ONLY THREE MORE DAYS!

Image

Fred’s Party at the final show.  James Bond slash Awkward Prom Photo.  True love right there.

Pre-Final Checklist

Finals
I think everyone freaks out a little bit during this time of year…especially if your school is insane like mine and doesn’t have a dead week.  Fun stuff.  Here are my essentials to get you through the pre-final rough patch!

Five Things

It’s been an insane weekend, as my family came to visit and see the show.  It was wonderful having them down here all the way from up North, and I feel so lucky I have people willing to come watch the shows I’m in.  After all, it’s not like I am playing the lead in Christmas Carol, and they are still willing to make a 15 hour drive to see it! Very special.

My five things is a little late this week, but I haven’t had time between all the matinees and family outings! So here it is, the five things I’m most excited for in the coming week.

1) My bed.  This is so un-college-student-y, I know, but I am so excited to catch up on my sleep a tiny bit! Possibly.  Maybe.  We’ve been rehearsing to 11, with another rehearsal after that for a directing scene I’m participating in, so the sleep level has been pretty much nil.  We shall see how this week goes, since the amount of homework I have is slightly insane…but I’m looking forward to it!

2) Three nights off! To do homework. Sigh.  Though we all attempt to get stuff done at Christmas Carol, the truth is is that it is very nearly impossible.  So I will be using this Monday through Wednesday to complete the two HUGE projects I have due, while catching up on a myriad of other little projects.  Sigh.  At least I will be getting it done!

3) 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family.  I will be spending today (Sunday) doing homework…with a matinee situated firmly in the middle of my day.  While I’m plugging away at my papers and projects (hey, I just finished a whole paper and it’s only 11 am! Go me!), I will be tuning into ABC Family’s marathon of Christmas shows and commercials, and getting my daily dose of holiday cheer.  I’m probably gonna be OD’d by the time Christmas Carol is over, but I was born to celebrate the holidays!

4) Getting together Christmas presents.  I absolutely LOVE giving gifts! I put a lot of time and thought into them, and watching people unwrap what I’ve thought up is one of my absolute favorite things in the world.  I am making a lot of my gifts this year, because Pinterest has been extra kind in the way of crafting and baking…and because I’m a poor college student.  My sorority family is going to be first on the list since I’ll be leaving next Thursday (!) to go home!

5) More Christmas Carol! We have shows on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I can’t wait.  I love wearing my beautiful costume, and performing in a very fun scene with some wonderful performers! I’ll be sad when it’s over…though then I’ll get to look forward to one month of blissful break.

Me and my lovely sorority family.  Such wonderful girls! So happy to have them at the show!