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BWW Blog: Gift of Time - Part 1

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BWW Blog: Gift of Time - Part 1

Theatre as an art is inherently collaborative. It takes a team. What happens when we are separated from our ensemble? How can we continue to create in isolation? Most of the time the creativity in our craft is assigned. Don't get me wrong, this doesn't negate our art by any means, but as theatre makers, we are usually creating in the context of a larger project. We often have little control over the big picture: such as being cast as a role in a musical or asked to design the set for a specific play.

The unforeseen time that we have right now provides us the opportunity for unstructured creativity.

This is a scary yet exhilarating thought. Create art by yourself for yourself knowing that there are no parameters! As my professor Chelsea Nicholson told me, "Take advantage of this gift of time that we have right now. Do something creative. Do something that you haven't had time to do."

Many in my community have taken up the challenge and are continuously creating.

I reached out to several friends about their creative endeavors and got a variety of answers. I thought I'd share them in order to encourage you to pursue your own projects. So what are some of the creative ideas Samford students have devised to fill this seemingly endless time?

A beautiful dancer and intuitive writer, sophomore Anna Wiley shares perceptive thoughts.

BWW Blog: Gift of Time - Part 1
Anna Wiley dances gracefully as BLACK SWAN in Lafayette Ballet Company's "Swan Lake."

In regards to her writing, Anna states, "Writing can be a really welcome escape from constantly thinking about the [current] situation!" Dance is also extremely important to Anna. "Finding time to dance brings a sense of normalcy which is really helpful, and it's a great way to get some exercise, as well," Anna shared. All in all, being creative "helps to give [Anna] a sense of purpose."

During this trying time, finding motivation can be difficult, so Anna Wiley relies on discipline.

Anna says, "A lot of motivation comes from looking around at the ways other artists are creating and staying artistically engaged during this time; I also think a lot of my motivation comes from discipline." Anna's final thoughts on being creative are especially insightful, "If we can find ways to keep doing what we love, then we reclaim this time as our time to continue to create, rather than it only being time that was taken away from us."

Senior Madison Merkel continually works on many creative, yet productive endeavors.

BWW Blog: Gift of Time - Part 1
Madison Merkel is ready for a walk as Sylvia in Samford's production of "Sylvia."

A leader in the Samford theatre department, Madison has "been doing a lot to stay busy," including reading plays, dancing, choreographing, learning guitar, singing, and self-taping for auditions. As an ambitious and driven individual, Madison is doing many creative works, but humbly states, "I think of them more as just being productive rather than being creative."

Like many college seniors, Madison Merkel is dealing with the loss of her final semester at school.

Madison states that her motivation behind her creative works is "to help ease the pain of not going back to school. I have to [create] in order to keep going. I think my options are either create or be apathetic." Creative works have been her "healthy focus." Madison's encouragement for other restless artists is that, "We have to create, we have to have some source of hope and purpose with the limited amount of things we are able to do, so why not use it to be creative?"

Finally, Ben Reardon, a sophomore who can make anyone laugh, is learning instruments and writing a play.

BWW Blog: Gift of Time - Part 1
Ben Reardon plays the owls as well many other roles in "Ella Enchanted" at Samford University.

With humor, Ben states, "Besides learning the two instruments, writing a play, and having five more [play ideas] on top of that, I think I have enough going on." Additionally, Ben has been reading plays such as The Glass Menagerie, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, August: Osage County, and American Buffalo. Ben keeps working at all these creative endeavors, "to keep [his] creative edge and some form of growth in my studies of theatre."

Ben Reardon gave much praise to his professors for encouraging his creative pursuits.

He states, "It's the professors who are feeding my creative ideas." Ben emphasized balance, especially in regards to his motivation. "It's important to have those days where you take some time for yourself, and then there are other days where even though you don't want to do it at all, you've got to." A final word of encouragement, Ben says, "If it makes you happy, even if you think your ideas aren't good, then you just gotta find the courage to get out of your own head."

All in all, Samford students are finding ways to be creative in this isolation.

I hope that you find some inspiration through their thoughts. What ways are you working at being creative? How do you motivate yourself?

*I would like to extend a special thanks to my professor Chelsea Nicholson for continually being an inspiration. Also, I would like to thank Anna Wiley, Madison Merkel, and Ben Reardon for not only having the courage to create, but also giving up some of their time to speak with me. And of course, I must thank Ansley Burnette for being my personal editor.


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