A Week in the Life of a Boston University Theatre Student

A Theatre Arts: Acting/Directing/Playwriting sophomore in the School of Theatre with a Minor Emphasis in Social and Racial Justice and Communications.

By: Oct. 16, 2022
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A Week in the Life of a Boston University Theatre Student

Happy college to me and anyone who chooses to celebrate it! Welcome to a new year of school, that one thing you wish you left back in highschool, and a chilling fall semester. As the trees in Boston begin to shed their shades of red a whole month earlier than last year and the Californians bring out their full winter regalia, I thought I'd bring you along for a week in the life of my first semester as a Sophomore BFA Theatre Arts: Acting, Directing, and Playwright student in the School of Theatre (SOT) at Boston University (BU) with minor emphasis in social and racial justice and communications.

Let us start with Sunday, a sunny day no doubt. But the sun has a secret: it's horribly windy out mwahahahahahhahaha... Standing in an overstuffed and definitely not covid-safe T (the subway, for those of you who don't know Boston) to meander through downtown with my hair sticking to my face, I stop first at DSW to look for a pair of heeled boots I saw on clearance the week prior when I bought a pair of Timberlands. I couldn't stop thinking about those heels all week. I pick up a few items from the Boston Public Market (apple butter barbeque sauce, apple cider doughnuts, and chocolate cayenne granola from a local apple farm), and then head over to the Boston Public Library to return Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights (some research reading for my next project... details to come in a future blog).

During the T ride back to my apartment, I email Kirsten Greenidge, (Playwriting Track Director, Theatre Arts Chair, and Performance Co-Chair of the SOT), attaching two of my scripts that I finally finished editing over the summer (link to blog, 'The Life and Times of Art'). I inquire about the possibility of one of them being presented at Springboard, a new works opportunity produced twice a year as part of the SOT season. A couple hours later, and I have a slot! I am excited to announce that one of my plays (yet to be decided) will be performed as a staged reading in May 2023 as part of Springboard. EEEEEEEEEEEEE. I ended the day making a chicken/ginger bone broth soup that I make every 2-3 weeks and continuing my read of a nice book before going to sleep.

Monday: They say Monday is reach and run day and they really didn't lie... A natural early riser, I wake up at 6:30am. I have the same breakfast I have every morning: a bowl of cereal (today it's Kix) with almond milk, a cup of tea (this mornings' was Ginger Peach by Republic of Tea), and a MorningStar vegan Sausage while watching youtube videos on the Vizio TV I found up for grabs in my apartment's lobby a month ago. I quickly walk the .6 miles to the College of Fine Arts (CFA) wearing the required all black athleisure wear to my first class of the day: Movement at 8:30 am. It may sound horrible... it might be horrible... but I love it.

After Movement I have a 2ish hour break to shower, change clothes (I hate wearing all black), and then eat what I call second breakfast (a smoothie today) at my apartment before heading back to the CFA for Beginning Directing at 12:20pm. Today, I directed a no-context scene with 3 people. The context I came up with was that A and B find out that they are in a play and have to hide it from C who has stagefright. I watched other people work on their scenes and it really helped me figure out how I can clearly position my actors for additional and thorough storytelling.

I have 20 minutes between Directing and my next class: Acting. Remembering that I forgot to bring Goldfish for my scene, I hop on over to the Target across the street and make it back just in time for class to start. I perform my 5-senses imaginary circumstance scene where I have to clean up a mess in the living room before my mom gets home. It may sound easy but it really isn't. I am so proud of how I did, though. I succeeded in my goal of finding urgency and specificity in the links between each of my five sense memories and how each of those influence and inspire my next action. BUT I need to work on not letting my impulses get in the way. I have a tendency of being influenced by something that happened two days ago rather than what is happening in the moment and it makes my choices lack clarity for the scene and the audience. The audience can't tell where the choice came from because they didn't see what happened two days ago, they've only seen what has happened in the scene. Something to notice and work toward improving!

Immediately after Acting, I have 20 minutes to go from West campus to East campus (a 30 minute walk) for my 3 hour once a week course: Dynamics of Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice within Deaf Cultures. Today's topic was discussing Latinx/a/o Deaf Cultures in the school system. I adore this class. I haven't taken a sign language class in 3 years, but coming back to the language and immersing myself in Deaf Culture and Deaf Social Justice has been like riding a bike. During class, I receive an email from Rozalind Bevan (director for the play, The Moors, that I will be Assistant Director and Music Director for this semester at BU) with links to the music and the lyrics that I need to learn and record myself singing. We will be using this recording to teach the actors the songs once rehearsals begin later this month. I put this on my to-do list for next week.

It's dark as I made my way back to my apartment to prepare for my friends Annika, Josie, and Alexa to come over for a Halloween movie night. Tonight's movie: Coraline. We ate kettle corn and Goldfish, drinking tea while we cast the students in our cohort as all the characters in order to distract Josie from being scared. We ended the day at 12:30am, talking about Santa, presenting our post-wisdom teeth surgery videos, and with my door handle falling off as my friends left to go back to their places.

Tuesday: The day my shoes wouldn't stay tied... A cloudy and rainy day in Boston and I am happy to have my umbrella. However, my new pair of Timberlands keep on untying so I need to figure that out... I start my day waking up at 7 to start work remotely at 8:30am as a Communications Assistant for the CFA team. As a Communications Assistant, I draft the Terrier Tuesday features for the CFA social media and brainstorm/pitch new ideas and features for the website, social media, and the magazine. This week's task is to write questions for an upcoming feature we have for commissioned pieces being presented later this spring for the School of Music's 150th anniversary. After my 2 ½ hours of work, I reread the last pages of Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance before walking over to the CFA for Dramatic Literature: 1850-1950 (Drama Lit). This week, we're discussing Tradition vs Modernity in God of Vengeance and Paula Vogel's Indecent.

On my way to Drama Lit, I see an email from Kirsten, the professor of my Theatre Ensemble: Autobiography course (basically playwriting but ensemble-building as well) stating that she is currently in Covid isolation so class would be canceled that afternoon. In light of the newly bought time, Alexa, Annika, our friend Kaden, and I decided to rewatch Indecent in preparation for our Thursday Drama Lit class. Thanks to some technical difficulties with Broadway HD not allowing screen mirroring to project the show, we instead show Annika our favorite Try Guys videos before Annika and I make our way to Trader Joe's to pick up groceries. It's dark again as I take the T back to my apartment only to discover that I somehow lost the key (likely while fumbling to grab my T card). I call the Resident Assistant who lets me in and issues me a temporary key and I mentally budget in the $120 it will cost me to have my locks changed and a new key issued.

Wednesday: What I thought was Thursday... The day begins with me reading for fun for three hours until a knock at my door from facilities forces me to get out of bed. My door handle that broke Monday is fixed (yay) but my key is still gone to the aether (boo). At least I'm able to finally finish reading the book. I have a few hours to work on homework (essays for drama lit, features for work, etc) until a check-in meeting with my faculty mentor, Yo-El Cassell at 1pm. I choose to ride my electric scooter across campus rather than walking. The meeting ends and I find myself at a standstill, with not enough time to go back to my apartment but too much time to just sit and wait for Acting to start at 2:30pm. Josie and Annika pop out of their Alexander Technique class and tell me they're heading to Starbucks across the street. I follow along.

By the time I make it back to the CFA, my croissant and Venti Peach Green Tea are long gone and I have about 15 minutes to prepare my mind for my next 5-senses scene. My professor, Malika Oyetimein congratulates me on doing the scene successfully and opening up to vulnerability. I make my way back to my apartment, eat a nice bowl of the soup I had made on Sunday while busting out an indepth close reading and analysis of God of Vengeance through the lens of sex work and it's perceptions in 1907 Poland, all before walking with Annika back to the CFA for rehearsal.

This week, I am sitting in on rehearsals for one of the New Works Festival staged readings: Mother May I? by Dylan Avillanoza. I am understudying the role of Paul, "a kind, happy-go-lucky, 'Christian' bartender." I sit in a corner of the audience, reading and hoping my phone doesn't die while I play battleship over GamePigeon with Josie. Annika and I walk back to our respective apartments, debriefing our separate rehearsal shenanigans. I end the night at 10:30pm, back at my apartment, eating a quick second dinner of peppers and hummus and reading before falling asleep around 1am.

Thursday. What I thought Wednesday Was. Even when writing this... My morning begins at 7:30am where I read before getting out of bed to make breakfast (todays is Multigrain Cheerios and the Tea is Dandelion Detox by Smith Tea). Instead of starting remote work around 9, I give myself some time to catch up on a reflection I'm writing about the education system in regards to disabled and Deaf students for my Deaf Social Justice class. By 10am, Annika and I have finished our walk over to the CFA for Matinee-a zero credit required "course" that serves as sort of assembly time for the SOT. It is scheduled for every Tuesday and Thursday morning but we only meet as needed. Today we meet to discuss the technicalities and parameters of the upcoming spring season auditions for sophomores (this will be our first time in the casting pool).

At 10:45am, I take the elevator up one floor to work in the Communications Office for a couple hours. I finish a Terrier Tuesday Feature-ironically about my Acting TA-and draft emails to School of Music Professors for the 150th Anniversary commissions while brainstorming questions for Chris Edwards, one of the senior lecturers in the SOT, artistic director of Actors' Shakespeare Project here in Boston, and Director of our fall production of Let the Right One In. All while listening to the Try Guys' new podcast episode. By 12:30pm, I am up yet another floor, discussing and watching clips from Indecent in Drama Lit.

I walk back to my apartment to eat a snack of lentil soup and a cup of tea. Instead of canceling Theatre Ensemble for a second time this week, Kirsten (who is still in COVID isolation) holds class on zoom for an hour and a half. Alexa comes over to buddy zoom into class. Annika, who is not in the class, sits in the back of the frame reading a book and eating peppers and hummus (I've got her hooked). Around 6-6:45ish, we all walk to our 3 separate rehearsals for the night where all three of us are understudies. In my corner of the audience tonight, I actually end up reading a good 100 pages of my book while everyone eats my snacks. An email comes in from the director of the next play in the New Works Festival "Against a Village" by Elliot Dean. Rehearsals for this one start next week where I will be in the ensemble and understudying the role of Fay, a "gossip-obsessed high school student". At 10:00pm, Annika and I walk back to our respective apartments with a good vent-session. We decide to start walking to Movement at 8:10 tomorrow morning. By the time I get home, I receive an email from my Movement professor, Melodie Jeffery-Cassel, that Movement is actually canceled for the day. Annika and I relish the possibility of sleeping in. I read to fall asleep around 1am.

Friday: A long day for absolutely no reason. No yays today... I wake up at 6am and then 7am and then finally 8:30am. I finish the last 50 pages of the book I've been reading and start up on the next one, getting about 70 pages into it before stopping to prepare for my day. I eat my normal breakfast while working on some draw-ups for staging the scene I'm directing for my Directing course. I read some more before scootering over to physical therapy at 11:20am. Due to Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (HEDS), I go to PT for 40 minutes once a week for chronic pain management and strengthening. My knees have been bugging me all week, making it so that I struggle to bend them without horrible pain. My PT tapes up my knees and I head over to Directing at 12:20pm where I act in my friend, Keishona's, no-context scene.

After Directing, I make my way back to my apartment, wash my hair, and eat some leftover chicken-ginger bone broth soup before a zoom rehearsal/read for a short film I'm filming Saturday morning. Right after the readthrough, Josie and Annika come over for dinner and to read through/do some table work for the scene I'm directing for my Directing class. We're doing the final scene from Dryland by Ruby Rae Spiegel with Annika playing Amy and Josie playing Ester. After we eat, we all walk to rehearsal together. Tonight is the first and only run through before the staged reading goes up Saturday night. After rehearsal, Annika and I walk to our apartments together and I end my night with a cup of Lullaby tea by Smith Tea, a bowl of Trader Joe's Japanese Fried Rice, and reading to fall asleep around midnight.

Saturday: Where I sat on my knees a majority of the day... Waking up at 6am, I ate my normal breakfast (eating my last Morning Star Sausage) and memorized lines. I scooter to a laundromat in Allston to film a short film called Precocious. Directed and written by Logan DiVerniero. I play Mary, a 16 year old girl who tries to get the attention of a 25 year old Laundromat worker by bringing in her mom's underwear and lingerie. We start at 8:15 am and wrap at 4pm with me sitting on my knees in front of a washing machine a majority of the time. This gives me enough time to scooter back to my apartment, eat some dinner (leftover chicken-ginger bone broth soup), and rest, wrapped up in a heated blanket before walking to the CFA for the opening night call of Mother May I? at 6pm. During the show, I sleep, watch Ghost Files, and read with my weighted plush dinosaur, Bach, to keep me company backstage. I stay for the talkback with the cast and team after the show and arrive back at my apartment around 10:45ish. I eat a bagel and an apple while reading before falling asleep around 1am.

Sunday: Where the week started but also where it ends... Letting myself sleep in, I wake up with my alarm at 9:00am. I never do this. It's weird. I stay in bed to finish the book I've been reading until 11am. I then spend the entire day in my apartment, finally finishing my reflection for my Deaf Social Justice Class. Around 2pm, I decide to start writing an autobiographical play that might end up as my Theatre Ensemble: Autobiography final. I somehow end up writing a 60 page script in four hours. It was so liberating and empowering. I end the night editing the play and memorizing lines for some self tapes I'm filming on Monday.

All around, it was a jam-packed week. If you're still here, congratulations. I hope you had a great week ;)

Photo by Alexa Connors.