Grad School….

There is something terrifyingly satisfactory about thinking about the future. One one hand, you’ve got…well, every possibility in the world. On the other, you’ve got everything you have, right here and now. And sometimes, those two worlds are incredibly different.

It’s like a venn diagram with no intersection.

Writing my statement of purpose has been a terrifying adventure into “real life”. It’s getting a taste of a completely different new life, and knowing that there are still a huge number of variables that need to fall into place before anything happens.

I’ve been working on my statement of purpose for ….a long time, and it’s still not exactly right. It’s getting close, but there are so many possibilities of the stories I could share, the reasons I have for following my passions, the hopes I have…and it’s frustrating as hell because I don’t know what they’re looking for or if what I choose to say will sound exactly like every other hopeful applying to the same school.

But here’s what I’ve got so far. The ending is crap, don’t judge me.

THE PROMPT: 

In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application.

My desire to continue my exploration of classical theatre and my determination to better myself through a focus on classical acting comes down to one terrible Midsummer.

It was a really bad production. Most of the show had been slashed and rewritten to accommodate an impossible time limit, the actors were mostly drunk, there were no lights, costumes or set, and the audience was jammed into a tiny tent with an incredibly loud waitstaff while the show went on–outside– in the pouring rain. And I, with bright blue hair and more raw enthusiasm than actual skill, was Helena.

We were a group of passionate (and very broke) actors who had aspirations far beyond anything we were actually capable of, but we were determined to pull it off. And while the end product may not have been entirely extraordinary, it taught me more about myself and what fuels my passion for acting more than any other role I have ever undertaken.

It was an intensely challenging, frustrating and, I found, enthralling process. With only two weeks to pull the entire show together, I found that the faster and more chaotic things got, the more the text and language became the calming focus and drive behind my work. I dove, wholeheartedly, into exploring the mathematical patterns and meticulate word choice that lent such absolute, simple beauty and honesty to every speech.

Before Helena, I had acted in a number of Shakespearean plays, but this was the first time that something “clicked” so well and so entirely. I attribute much of this to the two-week intensive verse and text workshop I took with Andrew Wade. Not only did this expand my knowledge on the importance of verse and text work, it also marked my first contact with someone who got to “do Shakespeare” every day. That, more than anything is what I wish to achieve my own life— the ability to follow my passion for Shakespeare’s work every day and share that enthusiasm with others through both performance and outreach education.

Since then, I have leapt at every opportunity to further my knowledge and experience in classical acting. I realize, of course, that a well-rounded classical actor’s training is not just confined to Shakespeare. I have been lucky enough to have opportunity to explore various theatrical techniques and schools, and what attracts me to the [grad school I am choosing] is the dualities between a modern, physical focus and classical technique and theory.

In January 2011, I had the incredible opportunity to perform my own verse at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. While my style may be far from Shakespearean, this experience only intensified my desire to encompass a deeper understanding of performance technique and to continue to grow as an artist.

Elia Kazan, the Tony-Award winning director of the revolutionary Broadway productions of “All My Sons” and “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” once said that to be a successful creative artist, “[..you’ve got to see] how much you have to know and what kind of a bastard you have to be. How hard you have to train yourself and in how many different ways. All of which I did. I’ve never stopped trying to educate myself and to improve myself.”

The sum of my experiences thus far is eclectic and varied. I have written, directed, performed, worked production, designed and taught. However, where my true passion lies—where I wish to improve and educate myself, is in where I truly feel my passion—classical acting.

 

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