Dramatically Aware

My first production with FWOP, the Franklin W. Olin Players, has come to a fantastic close. After 2 weekends and four shows of 100% student production of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," I am incredibly satisfied and incredibly behind on my academia.

The Importance of Being Earnest- gets a little wild

An aptly taken photograph of Jack, Gwendolen, Cecily, and Algy (air borne) from FWOP's production of The Importance of Being Earnest, as seen during Candidates Weekend I and II. Photo Credit: the Honourable Mr. Mike Maloney

This appearance of mine as Algernon Moncrieff, flamboyant Londan aristo playboy, marks the end of a 2 year famine of stagelessness. Acting has always been for me as natural as breathing and as fun as eating. My first year at Olin, I had the luck of an opportunity to branch out from my customary medium of the stage. I auditioned for a role in an independent film being created from scratch by two now-alums. That film, entitled Yellow Lights, could be the subject of much writing itself, but I will refrain- check out the website to hear more about that product. The complete dvd, including a 30 minute 'making-of' documentary, should be on sale soon.

The closing night of "Earnest" blew me away. We played to our biggest crowd yet, which, along with Saturday being the closing night of our run, meant that our energy was through the roof, Something about knowing that it's my last show, my last moment, my last chance to become this other person... it always makes me really lay it on the line. That night, we all did-we were on fire. Nothing measures up to the thrill of the stage.

There are lots of things I love about theater. I'll choose this : I love The Awareness. Here's what I mean - being onstage, in the scene, as your character, you begin to notice things. The smallest looks, glances, gestures - a curl of the lip or bend of the neck. Every thing matters. You watch your costar as intently as you listen to the breathy swell & fade of the audience's reactions. This dramatic awareness is a thing sharp & subtle, powerful & delicate. It teaches appreciation of the nuances of communication -details matter. Someone is watching, & your entire focus is to give them a thought or a feeling through what you say and do. It forces you to be Present- present in the moment being created on stage. Being Present is vital to any performance- music, speech, theater, dance, rocket pitch, science fair poster, Expo presentation, whatever. If you're not engaged in the immediate reality and the message of what you're doing and saying, surely no one watching will be. I try to think about this every time I stand up to speak, which I'm glad to say is quite often at Olin.


More wonderfully good times with the cast of "Earnest." Photo Credit: Mike Maloney 2007

I'm very satisfied with Olin's push to make us speak. I definitely see Olin students as a notch above average for willingness and ability to speak in front of others. In fact, I expect it of my peers now. After countless poster sessions in ICB, design reviews in Design Nature and UOCD, and deep challenging discussion in so many other venues, I know for certain that any one who speaks out has made steps towards becoming Aware. Its certainly not comfortable for everyone- not at first. Speaking pushes people past their comfort zones. That's what Olin does. Its different, difficult, and eminently rewarding.

So when I walked off into the dark wings after the conclusion of my ... 35th? night performance, I was glowing. The warm words of friends and strangers went hand in hand with congratulations for castmates and crew. The outpouring of positivity kept me on fire all night. Here's to hoping I'm always Aware enough to notice.


Algernon Moncrieff, in Bunbury suit. Photo credit: Mike Maloney 2007

Click here for good press on FWOP's "The Importance of Being Earnest." My favorite remark is "Can those engineers act? Yes, they can!" From the Babson Free Press.

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