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Julian Gordon '14 and Terilyn Eisenhauer '15 join Labyrinth Theater Company on campus this summer

Julian Gordon '14 (left) with actors Marco Greco (far right) and Kevin Geer
Julian Gordon '14 (left) with actors Marco Greco (far right) and Kevin Geer

It came via inbox. With a click of the mouse, rising junior Julian Gordon was staring at an opportunity to spend 10 days interning with one of the nation's leading ensemble theater companies - right on his own college campus.

"It's like this opportunity fell out of the sky, landed right next to me and I just picked it up," said Gordon, a music and theater double major, of his summer apprenticeship with the Labyrinth Theater Company.

The group of actors, writers and directors, based in New York, were coming to the Connecticut College campus for an intensive summer workshop, and they were looking for two apprentices. Gordon and Terilyn Eisenhauer '15 jumped at the chance.

"To be working with Labyrinth is an incredible honor and I feel very lucky," Gordon said.

While on campus, the company members spent their days rehearsing, conducting workshops and classes and performing. They concluded most nights with informal readings of plays they had written.

"It is a way for artists to hear their work out loud, and although the whole experience is something formal, the way they conduct their days is very relaxed and informal," Gordon said. "They are reading new work and making sure the emphasis is on the play and not on the performance."

Eisenhauer, a theater major who is also completing the College's elementary education certificate program, described her apprenticeship duties as split between "being a part of the artistic process and having to get things done."

While Gordon and Eisenhauer were busy getting coffee and newspapers, delivering scripts, preparing rehearsal spaces and directing company members around campus, they also had the opportunity to be involved in the productions - both students were asked to read stage directions for some of the original works. And all the while they were rubbing elbows with some of the company's most famous members, including Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ellen Burstyn, as well as non-company member America Ferrera.

"Surprisingly, I haven't been too starstruck," Gordon said. "I have realized that they are just people and they want to do art, and I want to do art, so we are working toward a common goal."

Overall, both apprentices felt extremely welcomed by the warm community atmosphere of the Labyrinth Theater Company.

"It's a safe space," Gordon said. "Everyone loves each other and supports each other's work, and that's the kind of support that helps an artist grow."

- By Bailey Bennett '14

August 24, 2012