Let’s Play Catch Up

Where did I go?

The last two quarters have been a whirlwind of experiences, and I could barely keep up with them.  The amount that I have grown in these last two quarters have been eyeopening and almost too much to handle sometimes.  Although blogs were on my mind the entire time, they were put on the back burner because my schedule allowed me little to no downtime, and when I was given the gift of free time, I spent most of it on movies with friends, cleaning my room, or rest.  But now that I am starting my next season in my life, I thought I would tie up my loose ends and get down in writing what I never want to forget: 2018 of my sophomore year of college.

It was THAT Quarter

You know how every college graduate says that at one time or another, you are eventually going to have that professor that just becomes a living nightmare?  Well, I have officially stumbled upon said professor and am proud to say that after a grueling quarter of wasted class time, staying up for 36 hours straight during finals, and enduring a hostile work environment, I survived!  Let us summarize week by week:

Week 1: Willie

This week I auditioned for what is now one of my most beloved projects I have worked on of all time, This Property is Condemned by Tennessee Williams.  Over winter break I received an email from a professor that asked if I was willing to audition for a role that might just be perfect for me, and I thought I probably shouldn’t pass that up!  Little did I know that I would audition and sit through an interview that seemed more like coffee with an old friend and get offered the lead role on the spot.  Monday of week 1 I was cast as Willie and I worked with the most intimate and creatively intellectual team I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.  Co-star Drew D, and director Mark Larson were my saving graces of the quarter whether they knew it or not.  Every rehearsal was a reminder of why I do what I do, and what I aim to continue to foster in the future.  I loved this team and will drop everything to collaborate with them again.

Week 2: Yikes

This week I officially severed my ties with my student clinic on campus!  Hurray!  On Wednesday I was overhydrated and give over TWICE of what I usually get and ended up going to the emergency room because I had three times as much fluid in my body than I should have! YAY.  That was my last straw with my student clinic and it was one of the most anger-inducing yet gratifying choices I made this year to give them up.  Also, Friday of this week was my first of many meetings with my professor from hell.  Whoo.

Week 3: Light It Up

We had an earthquake this week and I’m already behind in my classes!  Did I mention that I was teaching at Light it Up School of Ministry Infused Arts?  This was the most empowering and special thing I decided to do this quarter.  Teaching and making a curriculum from scratch on my own for the very first time was a humbling experience for sure but it was absolutely wonderful.  I have so much love for my LIU family and the children that we had the gift of working with.  The bonds with these young artists that I have formed were overwhelmingly inspiring.  I have never felt so lifted up and blessed beyond words and I am so grateful I was welcomed into this family and valued.

Week 4: Go Equity!

I was in three shows this quarter! While rehearsing for This Property is Condemned at night, I was rehearsing for The Circuit in the day with TheatreWorks of Palo Alto.  The Circuit was my first experience working alongside equity actors and it was my first opportunity to apply my professional skills and get a taste for what I need to work on and what I have already mastered fairly well as a performer.  I was pleasantly reminded that equity actors are just humans and it gave me great confidence that I could and should continue to make professional acting a career.  As a matter of fact, this quarter gave me the ability and credentials to officially say that I am a professional working actor, which I’m still stunned and overjoyed that I have FINALLY made my dream a real possibility.  I’m getting paid to do what I love and when people ask me “what do you want to do when you graduate?” I can officially say, “I’m already doing it.”

Week 5: Mayhem

This was an unusually slow week that involved me sleeping a LOT.  I also took my midterm for my class from the dark side and the entire class went out for drinks afterward which should tell you how unnecessarily taxing, stressful, and absurd it was for us.  After all, I believe every student in class at this point had experienced a panic attack during class time.  Now that’s saying something.  But on the bright side, there were two classes that I absolutely thrived in and loved.  Theatre from the Black Perspective is I think a class that every single theatre student at Santa Clara University should be required to take.  I finally felt my thoughts and words valued and gracefully challenged to make myself understand how I can use my privilege to respect, empower, and lift up those less privileged than I.  Before I came into this class I had no idea how I could engage in social justice without overstepping or unintentionally telling others stories instead of giving people a platform to tell their own stories.  My greatest fear was stealing someone’s voice in the midst of trying to let them tell their story on their own.  I have learned how to actively listen and honor what others have to say, and this class has taught me more about the human race than any other class I’ve taken.  I’ve also read some stunning and amazing plays.

Week 6: W. Kamau Bell

This week I met W. Kamau Bell which was hilarious and fascinating.  Little did I know that his wife was a student and professor here at one point and was one of the founders of Teatro Catalina!  Kamau Bell is TALL and taught me ways in which I can have an open and deep dialogue with people of differing views on difficult and controversial topics.  Something fun was that I got to skip a day of Critical Perspectives to meet W. Kamau Bell because frankly, Critical Perspectives got a bit boring.  It’s pretty much a less fascinating version of American Theatre from the Black Perspective and having taken both classes at the same time, CP was pale in comparison to Black Perspective.  It looks like I got a solid amount of sleep this week. Good stuff.

Week 7: The Real Americans

This week I saw a riveting show called The Real Americans. It is a one-man show who portrays over 20 people whom he interviewed and stayed with as he traveled all over the United States in rural communities.  It was utterly fascinating and my jaw was dropped the entire time.  I have never seen such skilled, precise, exceptional, and engaging physical acting ever, and all this actor needed was a chair and a few hats and jackets.  It. Was. Jaw dropping.  This week is when things started getting pretty out of control and physically and mentally unhealthy in regards to the class that shall not be named.  At this point, the entire class had gone to both our professor and the chair of the department at least 5 times to get little to no help or change whatsoever.  We had no voice and it was absolutely awful.  We did everything right and got nothing in return.  Everyone refused to take our word as true and no one understood exactly how abusive and hostile of a reality we were all in because no one could possibly swallow that something like that could possibly happen at SCU.  Thankfully, one of my most favorite professors of all time was teaching one of my classes, Defining the Performing Artist, and she believed us.  SO this week I had breakfast and vented to her on Wednesday.

Week 8: San Quentin Prison

I had both of my shows going through tech week this week and it was pure mayhem!  This week I also had the life-changing opportunity to teach Shakespeare at San Quentin Prison with the prisoners themselves.  First of all, the dress code was so strict I literally had nothing to wear.  Eventually, I found something, but it was hard.  When I got there early in the morning I was absolutely terrified second guessing myself and asking how in the world I can work with prisoners as a young attractive 19 year old.  Well these prisoners greatly humbled me.  These men were the most polite men I have met.  These men were the most open-minded people I have met.  These men, although predators, were the most loving people I have met and most eager to learn.  I have never seen people so absorbed by Shakespeare and so enthusiastic about challenging themselves.  I asked them if there was one thing I could tell the world about prisoners.  They told me this: We are only humans and we are so much more than our mistake.  We have children.  We have partners out there.  Some of us just became grandparents and have never met our grandchildren.  We are people and when we serve our time we deserve to have our rights and lives.

And it’s true.  And I am humbled.

 Week 9: Audition Grind

This is the week I auditioned for Legally Blonde! the mainstage musical of spring quarter.  Let me tell you, the auditions and callbacks were both empowering and absolutely brutal.  It was interesting to constantly wonder where you are in the running and going back and forth between “I’m absolutely going to be a part of this show” and “I seriously don’t think they’re going to cast me in this show.”  So my advice to you is don’t let yourself get to that point!  There are going to be a LOT of people, a lot of close friends, who are going to want to have a glass of wine and talk it to death.  I advise you not to do this.  Takes notes on what you can improve on, and be damn proud of yourself for your performance.  No one else can do what you did out there, and no one can take that away from you.  If you’re looking for some guidance on what to do instead of not do, I’d advise you to immediately distract you by doing something else that occupies your mind and time.

Week 10: Sleeping In

This is when the third show I did came about.  I was the Clown in Mr. Grump and the Clown in a children’s show.  I almost wasn’t because the day of our show (we blocked, memorized and put together the 45 minute show in 36 hours) we were going to do a run through before the children came.  But!  My alarm didn’t go off and I slept in for 2 HOURS.  So I woke up to a cast member knocking on my door to wake me up and we sprinted across campus to the theatre.  I got into costume and hair as quick as possible, we got everything set up, and the kids arrive 15 minutes later. I have never been so shocked with myself in my life and I felt SO bad.  But I did what I needed to do, we left it at all at the door, and the kids absolutely loved the show.  It was amazing and so inspiring to see three and four year olds coming up to you with wide eyes and a huge smile saying that this was their first play.  It’s humbling to know that this will be their first memory of theatre.  We set their expectation and I know they left eager for more.  This was also the week when I auditioned for The Glass Menagerie and the director of Glass and the director of Legally Blonde fought over me.  I would say that’s a pretty nice confidence boost the week before finals week.

Finals Week: Nica!

Finals week is where the verdict came out!  I was cast as Whitney, Courtney, and Chutney in the spring mainstage musical Legally Blonde! the Musical.  I was really excited to accept that lead ensemble track, but little did I know the pink tsunami was going to come and go so fast.  On Friday, I and a team of others went off to Nicaragua for Teatro Catalina!

That’s a Wrap

Well, that’s the short version of my winter quarter of my sophomore year.  Overall, it was taxing, to say the least, but only because I was forced to spend an insurmountable amount of time suffering over one class.  If there is any time I have tasted a tad bit of hell, I would have done so in this dang class.  After the final of that class, I believe every single one of us went to have a drink together.  That class tore every single one of us down to our bare bones and we crawled out by the skin of our teeth, my friends.  But I will say that I truly learned what grit was and finally understood how much of it I have.  The people in that class got very close and I will always appreciate how much we stood up and protected each other through the process because each and every day in class was a traumatic experience.  It really was.  What came after it was finally victory, and I don’t believe this person is back this year.  But it also came with lingering anxiety and my first anxiety attack ever in Benson, our university cafeteria.  But that story is soon to come next quarter.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Skylar, I can relate to your experience. I’m studying languages, literature, and linguistics, and I’ve been replacing my blog posts with assignment writing for the past few semesters. People have told me that those who study the arts will never be busy, little do they know the lives of us arts students! Anyway, I just popped by to say hi, and to wish you luck in future endeavours! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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