Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pneumonia Sucks, Festival Rocks.

These are the lessons the waning days of January and the opening days of February taught me.  To summarize briefly why I have been absent since my last, rather exuberant and somewhat scattered, post, I will simply say: bacterial bronchitis.  pneumonia.

Remember my post about being sick from a few weeks back?  In it I explained that the last three weeks of my winter break were devoted entirely to bed rest as I got the nasty flu that had been terrorizing the eastern seaboard.  Unfortunately, because my "health insurance" is somewhere between joke and sham, as most college coverage plans are, I could't afford treatment.  That + resuming a daunting schedule + the grips of winter = the flu deteriorating in to laryngitis and fatigue which slowly evolved itself into a nasty form of bacterial bronchitis and pneumonia.  Well, in theory it includes pneumonia. . . I can't actually afford both the testing and the medication, you see.  So we opted to proceed as though I have pneumonia, which seemed incredibly likely as I lay in Wellness coughing until my diaphragm spazzed out, I vomited, and started seeing stars.



But the second part of this post's title is "Festival Rocks."  So let's talk about that now shall we???

Festival - the nickname for KCACTF or The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival is something you can read more about in the link imbedded above: my school is part of Region 1 and we got to spend our week of acting, stage craft, competing, performing, master classes, workshops, lectures, and networking in Cape Cod MA.  I attended KCACTF as a Stage Management Fellowship Nominee and Irene Ryan scene partner  which are both competitions, one for stage managing (obviously) and the other for acting. My Festival Week went as follows:

Tuesday: final rehearsal for Irene Ryans rounds.  Review materials for my book and display.  Load in to the car with my darling Louque Gaga (nickname for one of my friends here on campus. He's marvelous). Spend almost two hours singing showtunes obnoxiously.  Arrive at our hotel, check in, find our roomates for the week (my actualy roomate + a fellow senior + an alum here to compete in the Ryans).  Unpack, do final prep on my production book, have a group rehearsal for Irene Ryans, eat pizza that Papa Jim (one of our two accompanying faculty members) bought us all.  Try to sleep.

Wednesday: Up at 6am w/Lil. Gym. Back to the room to do hair, makeup, and get dressed. 7:30 last minute run through of Irene Ryans scene w/the nominee.  7:45 check in for our round.  8:00am curtains up.  9:30 - 11:15 Ryans response (this is where specially trained and selected "real world grown ups" meaning faculty and directors from other schools, give feedback, critiques, and opinions on how each competitor and their partners did.  Incredibly insightful). 11:15 - 11:25 runlikehelltochangeoutfit. 11:30 - 1:00pm set up for the Design Management and Tech Expo (DMT for short).  1:00pm - 1:00am nap, workshops, continue refining book and display, watch other Ryans rounds, find out nominee and I didn't move on in the Ryans but my two roommates (real life roommates, not Festival roomates) did and so did one of the other seniors competing and her partner. Eat something, meet up with friends old and new, go to bed.

Thursday: Up at 7:00am. Gym. Work DMT as part of my Stage Management Fellowship nomination with Louque-Gaga.  All. Damn. Day. And. Evening. When it finally ends, eat something, stretch, go over game plan for interview portion of the SMF competition.  Watch semi-finals of Irene Ryans.  See friends kick ass. Take a Fosse workshop and get offered a spot in the Boston Theater Project's Summer Intensive in Tampa FL. Resume friendseeking/making/hanging out with from the night before. Get really anxious for interview. Finally fall asleep with lights on: Lil and I are snug in our bed, other roommates never reappear after dinner.  

Friday: Other two roommates fine, found old friends from HS.  Continue running DMT as part of competition. Have interview portion. Find out the senior girl and her partner (both of whom I've been friends with since freshman year) have moved on to finals.  Freak out. Cheer on other contestants in the DMT's final day, many of whom are now my friends.  Finally get to see a show ("The Foreigner"), laugh ass off, at intermission boldly march up to some fellow Ryans and tell them how much I loved their stuff and it's a pity they didn't move on.  Repeat the friends thing. Sleep.

Saturday: strike DMT. Cross fingers/pray for Senior Duo to Kick. Ass. at the finals, and for all my friends in Ten Minute Plays to be awesome. Audition for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's Summer Apprenticeship.  Find out one of the adjudicators of the DMT wants my resume and contact information. Am tentatively offered a potential job in NYC post graduation with a lighting firm. Give in to days of hunger and exhaustion: split chicken tenders and fries with Lil.  Take nap. Hit hot tub.  Lil convinces me to do my hair and put on a dress, though I decide not to wear makeup.  Go to Awards Ceremony, which is the first part of closing out Festival.

At Awards Ceremony: cheer like a lunatic for my friends who won things in the DMT (Louque and I don't win for stage managing: we didn't expect to, we're our school's first ever representatives and we're just really amazed to even be there). Then acting awards start being handed out.  The first is Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, who announce the two people they've selected to be their apprentices and to receive scholarships to the summer training course to boot.

- Immediately go in to shock as my Theatre Department erupts in screams and applause as my name is called as one of the 2013 CSC Interns.  This gives me guaranteed performances within a few weeks of graduation, will help me earn almost all my Equity Eligibility Points, reduces my cost of training by more than half, and launches me full-steam-ahead in to the world of Shakespearean Theatre.  Eventually, I have the good sense to cry.  

- My roommate (not Lil, but the other one - Thing 1, I call him) receives an award for his vocal work as an Irene Ryan.

-My dear friend Robby receives Merit Award for his performance in the Music Theatre Initiative/Richard Maltby Jr competition

-Senior nominee wins Best Comedic Actress.  At this point, my entire school is crying more or less.  Most of us have very little voices left.  There are bruises from hands being held too tight and too rowdy rounds of applause.

-The Senior duo wins. My beloved department will be representing our entire regionin Washington D.C. in a few weeks, as two of my most longterm college friends grace the Kennedy Center as the best actress and best partner in the region.  My beloved department, whose BA is less than a year old.  My girl who has had her heart broken and remade before my eyes.  My dear friend who was almost unable to graduate with us, and has served his nominee as a perfect partner.  They received the last and most prestigious award of the night.  I received the first and newest.  Eventually the President of our College herself writes to tell us how proud she is of our class. 

- Then it's the dance.  To read more fully about everything that night felt like, you can read here.  It was magic, I tell you.

Sunday: we pack up, hug it out, hand in keys, and drive home again.  Hearts light and minds filled, I breathe as slowly as I can while Louque speeds along the highway, trying to relish the impact of this last golden Festival.

Such an experience, dear readers, such joy, I wish to you all. 

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