My Journey with Theatre

my journey with theatre

 

Theatre has been a passion of mine for nearly my whole life.

I started doing little church plays when I was in elementary school.  For an 8-year-old, this was the ultimate thrill.  That was really the beginning of this whole adventure, even though I didn’t know it at the time.

I was in my first full length musical when I was in 7th grade.  It was an adapted version of Disney’s Aladdin, and I was definitely the palest person on stage for a play set in the Middle East!  Thus began my love affair with community theatre.  I was involved in community theatre off-and-on throughout middle school and high school.

The last community theatre production I was in was Fiddler on the Roof.  I played Grandma Tzeitel and I have no idea how I got that role.  It was very against my type cast, (I was pretty nervous to play and old, dead, Jewish lady) but it was actually pretty fun!

my journey with theatre- grandma tzeitel, fiddler on the roof

That’s me.  This was fall of my senior year, when I was actually doing two musicals at the same time.  Community theatre and…

Enter high school theatre!  I was in the cast of all four fall musicals throughout high school, which was definitely an experience.  It’s amazing how much of a different perspective you have after some time has passed, but now I would definitely say Beauty and The Beast was actually really fun to be in, though I didn’t realize it at the time.  Because I know you’re curious, I played one of the Silly Girls.  You know, they’re those blonde bimbos that swoon over Gaston?  Yup, represent.  The thing that made this trio so fun was the other two bimbos I spent the whole show with.  One was my best friend of 10+ years, and the other was a super fun girl I got to be really good friends with throughout the show.  Suffice it to say, Susannah, Sage, and I were always in character.

my journey with theatre- silly girls, beauty and the beast

That’s me in the middle.  It sums me up so well.

When I graduated, I was glad to leave high school theatre behind.  I enjoyed high school theatre at first, but I despised it by the end.  My senior musical was The Wizard of Oz and I’ve vowed to never do that show again.  It was definitely the worst experience I’ve ever had in theatre, but somehow I was still compelled to make it my major.

my journey with theatre- tree, the wizard of oz

Look, I’m a tree!  Dream role of many senior students.  I particularly like the scarecrow in the background.  Such honesty.

To be honest, I got into the theatre game pretty late compared to many of my classmates.  I didn’t start thinking seriously about a career in theatre until my junior year of high school.  My junior year was also the year I started serious vocal training and my love of dance.  So yeah, pretty late in the game comparatively.  Luckily, performing in musicals was something I had been doing for years, so I had a pretty solid basis of how the whole thing worked.

The real trigger that launched me into the world of musical theatre was the 25 Anniversary Performance of The Phantom of the Opera.  It was all downhill from there.  To this date, it is still my favorite show of all time, and playing Christine is my number one dream role.

my journey with theatre- the phantom of the opera

College theatre is a completely different story.

Focusing your energy on performing arts full-time is a surefire way to see improvements in your performances.  Not to mention the constant constructive criticism from your professors, and the competitive atmosphere with your classmates; you improve your skills fast.  It’s hard too!  But honestly, I can’t imagine majoring in anything else.

my journey with theatre- zeusical

(Costumes by Jaclyn Britz, Set by Jake Sullivan)

This was a show that I was in that was for freshman only.  Our reward for doing the show was a trip to NYC. 🙂

Accepting that I was going to major in theatre was a process for me and those who know me.  At first, my parents and I wanted me to have a second major along with theatre, but that idea has long been scratched.  After that, I had several people approach me wondering what I was going to do to make money.  It was obvious that they thought majoring in theatre was a fruitless investment.  Another common question I keep getting is “what do you plan to do with that degree?” which is just a more polite way of asking the same thing.  Even my academic advisor asked me what my backup plan was.

Throughout all of this I’ve realized that most people just simply aren’t educated about what goes into majoring in theatre.  The truth is that if you go to a good school and work hard, you will succeed in theatre.  I get the impression that people are generally unaware of the multitude of prospects available for those who are skilled in theatre.  It really is a huge industry, and I have no intention of being a starving artist, therefore I work very hard.

I try to be patient with these uneducated people, but I know that the success me and my classmates achieve will be a testament to the life of a theatre major.  In all honesty, the major you pick is only as good as what you do with it, therefore, there isn’t really one major that’s harder or easier than the other.

Anyway, I love theatre and I am so lucky that I get to be so involved with all aspects of theatre.  And I know my journey with theatre isn’t over.

To be continued…

The Ultimate Guide to Fighting Sickness

 

the ultimate guide to fighting sickness

Fighting sickness is actually one of my unexpected talents.  I feel very deeply for people who are getting sick throughout the semester, because that’s no fun!  But I feel even worse for people who make the same mistakes over and over again so they stay sick.  Yuck!  At this point in my life I am practically a pro at fighting sickness.  When you’re a theatre major, being sick can really affect your performance, but no matter what your major is, staying healthy is essential to doing your best in school.  Nearly everyone gets sick at some point in the semester, so let’s get educated on fighting sickness off fast.

My friends, this is something I take very, very seriously, and all these methods are tested and approved by yours truly.  Hopefully this guide will save you a lot of pain and suffering in the future.  Let’s get into it!

Bundle Up!

Being cold makes you more susceptible to illness, so pack on the layers!  Bundle up if you are going outside, but make sure you are plenty warm when you are just hanging around at home too.  Don’t forget to have plenty of blankets when you go to sleep.  You certainly don’t want to catch a cold while you’re sleeping.

Drink Water

This isn’t even funny.  You should be drinking plenty of water all the time, but especially when you’re sick.  Not soda, not milk, water.  Staying hydrated helps you be more alert when you have to get stuff done with an illness, and it flushes out toxins that are lingering in your body.  Please, please, please always drink enough water.  You’re body will thank you for it!

Drink Tea

Not only does hot tea feel good on a sore throat and help clear out your sinuses, but it helps you get better!  Tea is another great way to flush toxins out of your body, just be careful to not get dehydrated.  Caffeinated tea is especially guilty for making you dehydrated, so avoid caffeine.  My favorite teas to drink when I’m sick are lemon, ginger, detox, bedtime, and throat coat teas.  When I’m really sick, I will have as many as 6 cups of tea a day, so love that tea!

Avoid Sugar and Carbs

I know we all seem to crave comfort food when we’re not feeling our best, but don’t give into your sickness!  Carbs and sugar will only fuel your illness and make you sick longer.  Essentially, if you eat really boring (but healthy) foods you will be giving your illness as little fuel as possible.  So no Doritos, Pop-tarts, brownies, or SODA!  Wait to eat that stuff until your body is strong enough to handle it.

Sleep Even More

Speaking of strength, your body uses a lot of energy fighting off an illness, so get more sleep.  I mean, actually go to bed an hour before you usually do to get more zzzzz.  Take naps too.  Getting all the rest you can get will help you fight off your sickness faster and more effectively.

Stay Home

While going out with your friends might be tempting, staying home is in your best interest.  Staying home will allow you to stay out of the cold, get some rest, bundle up, and just relax in general.  Plus, your friends will not thank you for getting them sick, so don’t expose them to whatever you have.

Don’t Share… Anything

Like I said, show some love to your friends and don’t get them sick!  Don’t share water bottles, chapstick, makeup, or even food.  You don’t want to spread your illness and you certainly don’t want to get any sickness that they might have.

Take it Seriously

I can usually fight off any illness within a week, but I often see people have the same cold for over a month.  How awful!  People might not realize how easy it really is to fight off an illness if you really commit to making yourself well again.  All it takes is a little willpower and concentration.  As soon as you feel yourself getting sick, completely change your whole routine.  You owe it to yourself to perform your best in everything, so take getting well seriously.

*Bonus: Your Voice

If you are singer like me, then getting sick is probably the most terrifying thing to happen to you.  However, singing with sickness is a lot more possible than you might think.  Along with following all the tips above, eat some honey to sooth your throat.  Cough drops can actually inhibit your voice, so try to avoid them.  Don’t try to force a sound from your voice, and make sure you warm up your voice gently.  The most important thing to believe is that you can still sing when you’re sick.  Try not to freak out about not being able to sing, and just go easy on yourself.

Get well soon!

Show Choir Competition or Indoor Carnival?

In high school I lived for show choir.  Competition season was the busiest, most exhausting, most fun time of the year.  Well, it is that time of year again, and I am not donning any glamorous dresses, 3-inch stilettos, or ridiculous curlers.  I have to admit, there is a hole in my heart from no longer partaking in something that was such an influential part of my life.  I still have tons of friends in high school who are involved in show choir, and I just know they are having a blast.  I wish I could be with them.

However, this weekend I got to attend a show choir competition!  You see, my family is still very involved in the world of show choir on account of my brother being a new member this year and my mother serving as the co-chair of the show choir organization in my hometown.  At the competition I got to see my family, high school friends, and even other alumni who came out to support the team.  I must say, our show choir crushed it!

show choir

I mean, look at that.  Doesn’t that look like an epic performance?!  I have never experienced anything quite like the energy that generates from show choir.  It has all the excitement of a rock concert and the competitive atmosphere of a sports tournament.  Not to mention everything that goes on outside the performances.  At any given show choir competition you will see a spectacle of people either in spirit-wear to support their teams or full-out dressed up.  Most of the class rooms in the host school are decked-out in the theme of the visiting show choirs.  People are constantly parading down the hallways in performance-ready costumes.

There is always an array of merchandise available to commemorate the event.  I’m talking t-shirts, sweatshirts, bracelets, bandanas… I even saw full length footie-pajamas this weekend!  This competition also had it’s fair share of vendors.  There are always some massive lollipops that show up every year, as well as smoothies, gelato, and mini fried donuts.  The most interesting vendor I saw this weekend was a hand-painted custom shoe company that was actually based out of my hometown.  You could buy shoes from them or they could paint little scenes on shoes you already owned.  With such amazing things like this for sale, it’s easy to compare show choir competitions to an extension of an indoor carnival!

I was telling people all day that it might as well be Christmas for me, I was so excited!  What could be better than a day filled with friends, family, singing, dancing, great food, and crazy costumes?  I truly enjoyed everything about being in show choir, but the competitions were always my favorite part.  I was so grateful to relive that experience for a day, but honestly, it wasn’t the same as being a performing competitor.  Still, I am very happy to be a supporter and honored alumni.  If you have the opportunity to go to a show choir competition, do it!  Even if you know nothing about show choir, you will surely enjoy yourself and maybe learn a thing or two.  Just one thing to remember: Cheer loud!