"And at that moment I realized that those changes, with all their agony, awkwardness, and confusion, were the defining fact of my life, and for the first time I knew not only that I really was alive, that I really was studying and observing, but that I had long been alive - even back in Baltimore. I had always been alive. I was always translating.
It's been a while! Week 8 and 9 were challenging in terms of self-discovery more than in workload. Quite a number of things have happened that uncovered certain aspects of myself that I thought were "done away" with. Human beings are large and we carry bits and pieces of our past selves even as we move forward. Those past selves do not disappear it seems, they just sleep. They can be brought back to life once triggered. I've been spending a good amount of time investigating the core sources of those feelings and images that creep up when the triggers come. I've been writing in my journal a good deal for the past few days.
Some highlights from the past two weeks:
1. Third-Year Political Speeches
Every year during "Community Meeting," Third Year Drama Students get to give a speech from a political figure in front of the whole Drama Division.
"As part of their third year voice class, the actors choose a speech that they are passionate about. They may agree or disagree with its argument. It is approximately five minutes in length, uncut and unedited, so that the beginning, middle and end of the speaker's argument is captured."
This year, the selections have come from Chief Seattle, Florence Kelley, George S. Paton, William Faulkner, Mario Savo, Ossie Davis, Shirley Chisholm, Susan Sontag, Frank Zappa, Carl Sagan, Marilyn Manson, Jon Stewart, Junot Diaz, Malala Yousafzai, Yulia Tymoshenko, Avi Issacharoff and Elizabeth Warren.
It was amazing to watch. It was a treat to see which speech each actor has chosen and how that reveals who they are and what they are passionate about.
2. New Work-study
I'm already two weeks in my new job as Microwave/Refrigerator/Water Dispenser Monitor of the 1st - 4th Year Ladies' Locker rooms and the Drama Faculty office for the month of November. So I've been doing my own laundry, cleaning bathrooms, microwaves, refrigerators and water dispensers. They may seem unglamorous or mundane, but these are things I wanted to learn to do on my own as I'm building this new independent life.
3. Juilliard StarBall
The Annual Juilliard StarBall is one of the most sought-after events of the Drama Division. It's when all first year Drama Students participate in a ballroom dancing competition as a sort of culmination of the first two months of study from Ballroom Dancing class. We learned the Foxtrot, Rumba, Tango and Swing and we each had different partners in each of the dances in the competition.
Aside from rehearsing in the preparation process, I had to find something to wear for the competition. My uncle (based in NYC) accompanied me to two of the thrift stores in the East Village to go find me a sequined ballroom dress and we did! We got a red-sequined dress for $10!
This event became important to me as a "student" because it was one of those performances where I felt so free and open as a performer. It was very much a "sweet spot" for me. I clocked this one in because the "instrument" or "body" that I used in the event is the same body I use every day. As I am in this interesting and challenging "transition" phase internally (well we are always in transition!), I am investigating what conditions I have to put myself in or create to trigger more openness and freedom.
I am a Graduate Drama student at The Juilliard School from Quezon City, Philippines.