Some people measure their lives in song.
They hear the faint beginnings of a certain melody and floods of memories rush back to them, cascading over and triggering tears and laughter, joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure.
I measure my life in scenes. In motions and movements and feeling. In the euphoric sensation when things are going perfectly; in the gut-wretching grief when you hear the last piece of news you’d ever want to.
Theatre is the ultimate portrayal of these emotions. Each second on stage allows me to experience the peaks and falls of life, tapping into a plethora of sensations. Being able to draw upon these feelings, though, does lend itself to an examination of events and experiences, and how my past has impacted the artist that I strive to be today.
Growing up in Darien, Connecticut, I saw few opportunities to perform outside of my school. Darien is a remarkably small, sleepy town. I dabbled in the arts when possible. When my family eventually moved to Southlake, Texas, I began to see more opportunity to act and foster my love for performing. My experiences were mainly confined to being on stage at school, though I was fortunate enough to attend several summer programs.
The past summer, I found a remarkable community theatre with a director, Jill Lord, who exponentially influenced my view of and love for theatre. Directing seven shows in a span of three months, she revealed to me the true meaning of hard work and discipline, and I was fortunate enough to work alongside her in six of the seven productions. Favorite roles included Elizabeth Benning in “Young Frankenstein” and ensemble in the regional premier of “Carrie: The Musical.” The theatre company coined the phrase “Praise jLord” as an exclamation of her extraordinary directing ability, compassion, and miraculous ability to put productions on their feet in mere weeks. Her valor, drive, and immense skill in spite of sleepless nights molded my desire not only to perform, but to direct in a similar setting and propel younger performers forward on the path to success. If I can emerge into the world with even one fiftieth of the passion and ability as Jill has, I’ll have succeeded in my mission.
I hope to continue to learn, feel, and experience in the coming years at SMU, furthering the foundation that has been built in my experience in two different states over 18 years.