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Illustration- Minor in Theater Arts
Syracuse NY

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Clarissa Baston on Friday, 20 February 2009. Posted in Clubs, Majors & Minors, Student Life

In my profile, I mentioned that I am a Theatre Arts Minor.  Now I chose this particular minor because I was an active member of Drama Club in high school, but when I came to RIT, I just didn't have time to continue do to theatre.  I almost didn't chose Theatre Arts because most people think that it won't benefit my overall education.  It's like I'm playing around almost.  I could've just taken some sort of business or done some thing deep like Philosophy.  But I missed being on the stage so much and my major is stressful enough that I need to loosen up and have fun.

So theatre it is. 

I started off this year with a Theatre in the US class.  I was a little overwhelmed because we had to read 18 plays in 10 weeks. do the math (lord knows i'm not :P)  It was an overall good class and I learned a lot about American plays and playwrights.  This quarter, however, I really jumped in with both feet.  I took Shakespeare: the Dramatist.  If that's not an intimidating course title, then I don't know what is. 

Thankfully, the class wasn't too bad and the professor was very funny and really engaging.  For our final assignments, however, we had to memorize a 30+ line monologue and a group performance to show what we've learned this quarter. 

First I'll talk about my monologue.  Now, we were given this assignment around week we were given more than enough time to memorize our lines.  And as much as I love to act, I have so much trouble memorizing anything.  So I decided to be a good student and start early.  My monologue was from the Winter's Tale, which is a play that I haven't read before and required a lot of passion and conviction.  This was a challenge for me because I have never played a part over the age of 14 and never had to raise my voice once.  But I practiced as much as I could.  I practiced in the car on my way to school, I practiced in the shower, I even started reciting it while I was walking down the quarter mile!  Sometimes I'd be walking with my boyfriend and he'd think I was crazy because it seemed like I was whispering to myself.  I was determined to get it down. 

This past Wednesday was when we had to recite our monologues in front of the class.  I was shaking so violently that I had to sit on my legs.  Thankfully, I didn't have to go first.  Some people did very well, while others not so well.  Then it was my turn.  So I made my way in front of the class and I could not remember the first word!!!  My mind was a blank.  I was doomed. 

I did panic for a about 2 seconds when I realized that I had to pull myself together and just do it.  I took a deep breath and everything came back to me.  I started off kind of slow, but I then got into and something came out of me that I did not expect.  I began to get angry and yell, just like the character would. My arms were all over the place and I feel like I broke out of my shell...more like I smashed that shell into a million pieces.  And before I knew it, it was over.  It was done.  All those hours of practicing...wrapped up into less than 2 minutes.  I was amazed. 

Now for my class' final performance, we combined Shakespeare's plays, Richard III and Winter's Tale.  It was about an hour performance that we had a week to really rehearse.  It was intense.  I didn't think we could pull it off.  I don't think anyone in my class thought we could pull it off.  But today at 4pm, we got our little theatre butts on that stage and it was probably the best performance that we did...well the best that we could do under the circumstances.  It was a lot funnier than expected, which is always a good thing.  And now all I can do it give out a sigh of relief because it's over!

With all this theatre things going on, I even decided to audition for a play for this spring.  It is called Arcadia.  I would tell you what it's about, but I think wikipedia does a better job.  Anyways, this was my first audition since high school and I was so scared that I would embarrass myself and quit theatre all together.  But I put on my brave face and marched into the room with as much confidence as I could muster. 

I read with this nice young gentlemen and I think we did pretty well.  We even got a few laughs from the director.  Unfortunately, I did not get a part, but I'm just glad that I did it.  My only regret is that I didn't do it earlier. 

So that's my little shpeel on my theatre life.  But my advise is that if you really have a passion for something and it is completely different from your major or your career goal, you shouldn't try to put it on the back burner.  It helps relieve stress and it's just fun.  :)