Reflection on 2016
My first year in the theater department at UC Davis was marked by experiences I need thought I would have. My fall quarter I was an ensemble member (a Greek soldier) in The Trojan Women. The classic was directed by Kirsten Brandt. I loved working under her specific direction and I always felt valued as an actor (even with a bit part) under her specific, guided notes and corrections. And, of course, I made the majority of my friends in the department because of this production. I also acted in a devised play- an experience I had never done before- this process made me act quick on my toes and really develop a specific character. It was part improv-sketch-comedy-greek-tragedy; it was an incredible experience. Winter quarter I served as an assistant stage manager for a production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike directed by Mindy Cooper. This experience taught me the value of a strong tech team to make a show run smoothly. Our stage manager was probably one of the most efficient and professional student stage managers I have worked with. It was very valuable being able to work so closely with a team of professionals. My spring quarter I served as assistant director for the screw-ball farce The 39 Steps directed by Mindy Cooper. This play was great fun to work on and working so close with Mindy was a gift. I learned the value of bringing bold choices into the room as an actor and brining really really specific character choices. So what did I learn from all of this? The value of watching. You know, maybe I wasn’t ready to act up there on the main stage yet, but, I got to watch actors who were. I watched Danika Sudik (Hecuba in The Trojan Women) deliver monologue after monologue each night: each time slightly different. Each with a different turn, spin, choice, emotion. It was amazing to watch. From her, I learned bringing different choices into the room and the specificity of linking text/language/voice/body. With being an ASM I watched an amazing group of actors work as an ensemble, working to develop impeccable comic timing. This I also watched during The 39 Steps. I learned the danger of half-ass choices and non-specific FULL EMBODIMENT of different characters. I watched Mindy try to pull choices out of actors like pulling teeth- I vow to never be that. This whole year: I watched. I learned from the failures and successes of my peers/elders and I know I am a stronger performer because of these experiences.
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