BWW Blog: Monica Furman - Senior Year, Week 1: Reflection, Advice, Preparation
I am now a week into senior year. Between beginning-of-the-year meetings, office hours, and work-study it's been...calm. I enjoy the routine of school and it's something I will miss.
I ended the week by attending Town Hall, an informational meeting that is held every semester by the Department of Theatre. This time is used to give out general information and announcements as to what is going on in the department. At the end of Town Hall, the clubs that are housed within the theatre department are given time to advertise extracurricular opportunities. There are two organizations, USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) and CAST (Coalition of Artistic Students in Theatre), as well as our College of Performing Arts Senator who represents us in the Student Government Association.
CAST is an umbrella organization that helps plan, organize, and execute all of the student-run programming that goes on throughout the year. I sit on the board along with five other theatre students and each of us are in charge of a sub-organization of CAST. From mentor/mentee programs to the 24-Hour Play Festival, we provide an entire season of shows, events, and initiatives where anyone (even outside of the theatre department) can get involved, whether your passion is acting, directing, stage managing, producing, writing, the list goes on and on. CAST is one of the mosts special and unique aspects of Chapman's Department of Theatre because it gives students opportunities to not only create their own work and collaborate with others, but also because it is essentially a mock grassroots theatre company--we have budgetary restrictions, board meetings, procedures on renting space and scheduling events, and we use good old word of mouth and posters to advertise. Being a part of CAST can teach a theatre student about how theatrical art is made. I will talk more about the wonderful sub-organizations and other events of CAST as they come up throughout the year, but for now, you'll have to take my word for it.
This week has also been a time of reflection, so I've asked several seniors in the department to give a few words of advice to incoming freshmen or aspiring theatre majors, and that is what I will leave you with:
Ellen Beizer, BA Theatre Studies '17:
I would say that the number one rule to keep in mind as a freshman is to be open. There are going to be days where you'll be scared, and sometimes your professors will ask you to do something that terrifies you or they'll tell you something about you that's hard to hear. These are the moments where you'll find out if you've got what it takes, and you'll only get out of these moments what you put into them, so give it your all.
Adron Duell, BFA Theatre Performance '17:
"Measuring success by comparing [yourself] to others does nothing but hurt your abilities as an actor. Acting is about showing people your individuality. You have something unique, that can only be found in you, that only you can offer.
Don't be afraid to ask questions and talk to [professors]. They are there to help. Part of learning is accepting you don't know something and admitting that you need others to help.
It's also okay to fail. You'll always be learning and you'll never get everything right, so stop pretending like you know everything. [Y]ou got in here because you're a hard worker."
Francesca Artalejo, BFA Screen Acting '17:
Don't be disappointed with rejection on any level. College is about learning and that happens inside the classroom but also from life experiences with others. With rejection you learn who you really are, what you really want, and what you really stand for. Don't let the haters get you down, but use it to find out who you want to be.Celebrate your victories. Wow, you graduated from high school! Wow you got into Chapman! These are things that you overlook but were definitely not an easy task!
Sierra Green, BA Theatre Studies '17:
I remember when I was a freshman, I was so scared and sad and I thought that I was the only person who felt that way, because everyone around me was so happy and excited to be there. I later learned that that was absolutely not true, and that there were so many other people that were going through what I was, they just didn't talk about it. So a piece of advice for new freshman--no matter what you're feeling, you are not alone--even if you don't see it, there are tons of others in the same boat. Don't feel bad about how you feel, because there is an infinite spectrum of emotions attached to starting college, and there is no "right" way that you should feel.
Be kind to yourself. Don't judge how you're feeling, explore it. As one of Chapman's theatre professors says, "Be curious, not critical." Take time to take care of yourself and realize that sadness, happiness, loneliness, anticipation and so many other feelings are all a part of the process. You don't have to have it all figured out on your own, you don't have to be an expert right away. Ask your friends, peers, and professors for help when you need it.
CAST Cross the Line, a devising ensemble, presents their Fall 2015 production, And Again.
Perdita and Florizel in the midst of CAST Guerilla Shakespeare's Fall 2015 production of The Winter's Tale
Here's a poster for CAST Beyond Stage's (a sub-organization that creates original musical theatre) Spring 2016 production, Crucible the Musical.