I have been involved in theater for as long as I can remember. My first official production was in the second grade and I have been in countless shows since then. At Conn specifically, I was cast in the show “Twelfth Night” last year. I had my share of interesting experiences working on the production, including adjusting to four-hour rehearsals and a much more intensive process than I was used to.
After my stint in “Twelfth Night,” I was feeling quite trepidatious about taking on another fall mainstage production. However, acting is a great passion of mine so I decided to audition for this fall’s show: bobrauschenbergamerica. After I was cast in the show I thought, “This won’t be nearly as intense as Twelfth Night. It’s not Shakespeare, I’ll be fine!”
I was wrong. Prior to our first rehearsal, I was informed that the entire cast of nine people would actually rehearse for the full four hours every Tuesday through Friday and for five hours every Saturday morning. I was quite taken aback. I had never, ever, rehearsed so much for a show. Was I going to be able to handle it?
The short answer is yes. At first, though, it did not seem that way. After about one or two rehearsals in which the whole cast, our director, a choreographer, and two student choreographers collaborated, I was feeling drained. With this particular show, our director, Kimberly Senior ’95, is utilizing a kind of theater known as “devised theater”. Typically, in devised theater the show is entirely made up by the cast and creative crew. In the case of our show, we already had a script. So, the part that is devised is how the actors take up the space, how we use the words to fuel our dance moves and how the actors play with the set and develop unspoken relationships with other characters. While blocking the show itself is a hefty task, the background work and the devising, is whole other beast.
I did not think I would be able to commit to this production while also maintaining my responsibilities, such as my jobs and classes. My attitude began to shift, however, as we got more into rehearsals and finished blocking the play. I began to realize that I was having a tremendous amount of fun. It just didn’t seem that way at first. I would finish rehearsal at Tansill Theater at 10 p.m. with a smile, and remark to my friends that I was just having the silliest time.
Being a member of bobrauschenbergamerica has been a highlight of my time at Conn so far. I have developed some great friendships with members of the cast and have learned so much from both my director and everyone in the cast and creative crew. Our show went up November 17 and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to share a piece of art with the world.