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BWW Blog: The Princeton Triangle Club - My Family of Laughter

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BWW Blog: The Princeton Triangle Club - My Family of Laughter
The Princeton Triangle Club
at Disney World while
on tour last January.

When I came to Princeton my Freshman year, there was one club I knew I had to join. I had spent hours that summer watching videos on the Princeton Triangle Club's website and looking at old production clips and photos. I followed their Instagram and Facebook pages before I even stepped foot on campus. My initial eagerness to join the Triangle Club was motivated primarily by my longing to find the most "professional" theater at Princeton. What I didn't know then was that Triangle would end up being a lot more than just an opportunity for me. Triangle was where I found my first family at college.

The Princeton Triangle Club has been around for 130 years. It is one of the oldest traditions at Princeton University. Every year the club produces an original student-written musical comedy, performs it in the McCarter Theater, and then takes that show on a national tour. A year in the Princeton Triangle Club is undoubtedly unique. There are a thousand moving pieces that make it all happen and the second one "year in Triangle" ends, we start over and do it all again. It is a thrilling community to be a part of.

During this pandemic, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on how formative Triangle has been for me. This last year of Triangle was particularly special. After a year in the club, I felt that I was finally able to embrace the club's fun without stressing too much about the "rigor" of theater. Don't get me wrong; Triangle is a very professional community in many ways, especially in terms of the quality of our shows, the number of hours spent rehearsing, writing, teching, and the sheer number of talented club members. But still, Triangle is, first and foremost, a student organization and a community of undergraduates. In the end, we all are in the club because we have fun.

My favorite thing about the "year in Triangle" is the consistent amount of laughter found throughout the entire process. Whether we're in rehearsals, building the set, playing Quiplash in someone's dorm room, or driving for 10 hours on a bus to Florida, there is always laughter. I have never met funnier people in my entire life. Even when the club has had some major stumbling blocks, the Triangle community's ability to come together, let go and laugh has helped the club persevere.

This last week, I taught a sketch comedy class for young students with some of my fellow Triangle cast members. It ended up that only four students showed up to the Zoom session, and at first, it was all a little awkward. We all introduced ourselves and did a fun icebreaker. We eventually jumped into an improv game called Press Conference, where one person doesn't know who they are and why they are giving a press conference, but everyone interviewing them knows the hidden circumstances. At first, the students were a little unsure about the game. But eventually, one of the students spoke up and suggested that the press conference story be that Abraham Lincoln was hiding a chicken under his top hat. All of a sudden, something just clicked. The other students thought the backstory was hilarious. By the end of the game, we were all laughing hysterically. The laughter just seemed to break down all the walls and all the fear. It broke through the rigid Zoom set up and the awkwardness of meeting new people and managed to help connect a group of middle schoolers with six Princeton undergrads.

Laughter is a huge part of the reason I feel like the most authentic version of myself with my Triangle community. Laughter can force us to be vulnerable in beautiful ways. It allows us to let go and be free from all of the stresses, pressures, and anxieties of the world.

There are a lot of "productive" things you can do during quarantine. But, that doesn't mean it isn't equally as important to spend some time letting go and laughing. In the next week, spend some quality time with the people in your life who make you laugh the most. Because believe me, a dose of loud, uninhibited laughter will do us all some good.

Check out Triangle's YouTube Channel if you want to be like my 18-year-old self and spend some quarantine time laughing.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Kate Semmens