Meet a Few of the GTA Faculty

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” —Mark Van Doren

 

By Jeilianne Vazquez & Ethan Baez

We recently sat down with some of the GTA faculty to ask them what they have learned over the last year and what their plans are for the upcoming summer break. Read on for our conversations with Professor of Theatre Larry Cook, Associate Professor of Theatre Pamela Workman, Professor of Theatre Elisa Carlson, and Senior Instructor of Theatre Terri Becker.


Larry Cook, Professor of Theatre, UNG
Professor of Theatre Larry Cook

What is your role at GTA?

Larry Cook: Mostly, I teach now. I still get to design and work in the shop on shows a bit, too. I suppose if I had to pick just one, I’d teach. While I love working with my hands and creating, I can do that on my own anytime I’d like—and I have. Teaching has the singular joy of allowing me to have a part in the formation of young artists. I was telling someone just the other day that the real payoff is when you’ve been in it long enough to see your once young and emerging artist students now, as fully developed artists in their own right. Sometimes with students of their own. So, yeah, teaching, and continuing to learn myself, is my favorite part.

What lessons have you learned this year?

Larry Cook: That I still have a lot to learn. And, I have yet to outgrow the mean streak of procrastination and laziness that is within me. It’s a daily struggle but I keep working at it. Maybe one day…

What are you looking forward to next year?

Working with Michael Jablonski again in production. I love Michael’s approach to, and energy in, production and I’m thinking Urinetown will be lots of fun and a potent piece of theatre for this time in American culture. I’m also looking forward to finding out what GTA is next semester. In many ways we’ll be starting anew for the second time in two years. That is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. There will be challenges but what a great time to be in GTA!

What do you do over the summer to relax?

Larry Cook: I like to be outdoors. So I spend a fair amount of time in the summer camping, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, etc. I also like to accomplish home improvements in the summer.

What words of inspiration do you have for students?

Larry Cook: Best advice I ever got: “Learn everything you can.” In my experience, there is no such thing as a “waste of time” spent learning—no knowledge is wasted. For a theatre artist this is especially true. Our craft is as old as humanity, so anything that is encompassed and created by humanity is a part of theatre. The history of theatre is the history of humans. I could give numerous examples but here’s an easy one: when an actor/director/designer analyzes a script, one of the primary things they are looking for are the “whys.”  Why did this character do or say this specific thing at this specific moment in the story. Psychology is the study of why sentient beings, mostly humans, do what they do. Why wouldn’t a theatre artist want to be well-versed in psychology, sociology, anthropology and the like?  Even though, on the face of it, these things have nothing to do with theatre. Math and science are all over the design/tech side of theatre. History is any theatre artist’s bread and butter. So I hope my words inspire GTA students to take this advice: “Learn everything you can.”


Pamela Workman, Associate Professor of Theatre, Brenau
Associate Professor of Theatre Pamela Workman

What is your role at GTA?

Pamela Workman: I’m an Associate professor of Theatre and resident costume designer of GTA. One of my favorite parts about my job is that it’s never the same. Every semester is completely different and it comes with its own highs and lows. The research for the show is different, the production team is different, the actors are different, so I’m never bored with the work. From a teaching aspect, I really enjoy seeing my students grow throughout a semester, usually starting off from a place of “I can’t do this” and gradually evolving into “I’m confident with makeup now!” which is really awesome.

What lessons have you learned this year?

Pamela Workman: People are completely different humans on the screen than they are in person. I also learned that if you have the right supportive network, you can literally get through anything, and through that experience, I’ve learned what it’s like when people step up for you, opposed to when they are going to be stagnant.

What are you looking forward to next year?

Pamela Workman: Hopefully next year we’re more streamlined. We’ve had a pseudo year back after a pandemic, and it’s taken a while to get up and running but I really want us to get back into full swing and get our audience built back up and let the let people know that GTA just took a little break, but we’re still just as determined to bring theatre to the community.

One of Pamela’s sketches for GTA’s 2019 production of Legally Blonde.

What do you do over the summer to relax?

Pamela Workman: Well, relaxing is not relaxing. I have three boys so for fun we like to go hiking or kayaking or other adventures like that, but personally I find enjoying the space around a waterfall to be really relaxing. I have also recently bought a fixer-upper, and so I spend the summer going through small to-do list goals that I can accomplish. I actually hang out with the Beckers (Terri and David) and the Morrises (Celeste and Darrell) a lot as well. We all like to get together when we can and go on excursions which is a lot of fun. I do read more over the summer. Right now I’ve started reading the Bosch novel series and it’s been nice to dive into something that’s not related to theatre because that’s what I’m always reading anyways.

What words of inspiration do you have for students?

Pamela Workman: For one thing, whether it’s on your phone or you have a physical copy, have a schedule book and fill it with everything you’ll be doing in a given week. Scheduling and prioritizing is something that I see students often have trouble with, so if you start out with just having a schedule book that you put everything in, even including your free time, it can do wonders for you. I mean, Terri and I were planning on going to the movies Sunday, and we have it on our schedules. If we don’t, we will either forget or just not do it. Our brains hold a lot of information, to the point where it can be overwhelming, but keeping an extensive record of your schedule can really help with that. It’s exhausting to have to keep a schedule book but if you want to succeed, then you kind of have to, because our brains only hold so much information. I also want students to understand that professors have their classes done in such a way because there’s a growth arc, so if you don’t do projects at the beginning of the school year, as a student you are taking away from yourself the educational process to grow to your full potential. I think that is highly important for students to understand. I personally think by not pushing yourself you’re doing yourself a disservice, and you should value yourself and value your mind enough to go out there and try. I’m not saying that you need all A’s by any means, because the world is not all A’s when you leave the institution, but take full advantage of your education because this is the best place to challenge yourself.


Elisa Carlson, Professor of Theatre, UNG
Professor of Theatre Elisa Carlson

What is your role at GTA?

Elisa Carlson: I’m a Professor of Theatre, teaching voice, speech, senior seminar and acting classes. I’m also a Resident Director for GTA and usually direct a play each season. One of my greatest joys is when a student has a breakthrough in their training and accomplishes a critical goal in their creative journey.

What lessons have you learned this year?

Elisa Carlson: I’m not sure yet, but I will say that this year I’ve experienced a lack of patience with and acceptance of myself when I’m having a difficult time. Really working on that. I think being kind to ourselves is important. Artists who spend too much time listening to their inner critic spend less time freely exploring and expressing their artistry.

What are you looking forward to next year?

Elisa Carlson: I think the GTA season is exciting and look forward to directing Pygmalion, by the great George Bernard Shaw. Shaw has been a research focus of mine for years and while I’ve coached dialects/text and acted in many of his plays this will be my first experience directing one. I can’t wait.

Elisa with playwright Topher Payne and the cast of Entertaining Lesbians

What do you do over the summer to relax?

Elisa Carlson: I love to travel, hang out with friends and family, and work in my garden.

What words of inspiration do you have for students?

Elisa Carlson: I’ve noticed that theatre-makers who calm their inner critic make room for excellence and joy. Try it and see.

 
 
 
 
 
 


Terri Becker, Senior Instructor of Theatre, UNG
Terri Becker’s Practicum class hard at work.

What is your role at GTA?

Terri Becker: I am a Senior Lecturer at University of North Georgia, and I am also the Lighting and Projections coordinator for GTA as well as the resident lighting designer.

What lessons have you learned this year?

Terri Becker: Returning from Covid is hard. There is a gap in student knowledge and a motivational gap as well. Students struggled in practicum classes and we were not even running full tilt yet. It was an experience learning how to deal with this and still get a show up on time.

What are you looking forward to next year?

Terri Becker: Knowing what I am doing. Both Brenau University and University of North Georgia are making changes at the highest level that will affect our departments. What those changes will be we can only speculate. Like with anything, change works slowly. I am not very patient so it drives me crazy!

Terri’s lighting design for GTA’s 2022 production of The Secret Garden

What do you do over the summer to relax?

Terri Becker: Try not to spend money. Just kidding! In May, I’m usually split between a sad attempt at gardening and playing the newest DLC (Downloadable Content) of Elder Scrolls Online. In June, we get a week at the beach, then in July it’s prep time for the next year. I have ADD so it is as important for me as it is for my students that I have my classes all set up and planned out before the semester begins.

What words of inspiration do you have for students?

Terri Becker: Go out to the university social events and spend face to face time with new people. It is important to practice your face-to-face social skills. Theatre is a face-to-face art, even for technicians. Also, get a hobby that takes you outside and enjoy the sun!

 

Meet GTA Graduating Seniors!

By Jeilianne Vazquez & Ethan Baez

The spring 2022 semester is coming to a close and seniors are preparing for graduation. We spoke to seniors Maleah Boyd-Gouveia (BFA Musical Theatre), Clara Woodfield (BFA Design & Technology for Theatre), and Joshua Daughtry (Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Theatre & Philosophy) about what they have learned in their time with the program, their career prospects, and advice they have for GTA underclassmen.

Maleah Boyd-Gouveia, BFA Musical Theatre

How are you feeling about your upcoming graduation?

Maleah: I have mixed feelings! I used to be so ready to leave and get out there, but this past year I’ve made a lot of great friends and relationships. I’m going to miss seeing everyone everyday, but I’m ready to stop being a student and start being an artist!

Clara: I’m super excited! I’ve been so focused on school and nothing else for so many years now that it’s both exciting and terrifying to know that, come fall, I’m not going to have to worry about essays and class projects.

Joshua: Well, I’ve got a lot of stuff that’s definitely keeping me focused to the point where I’m not really focused on being absent in any way, shape, or form. As much as I’d love to be able to say that I set up the last couple weeks as a senior completely stress-free, I chose to not do that. Right now I’m working on Heathen Valley, which is my senior capstone, and a lot of students have very generously donated a lot of time and energy into that production and a lot of hard, hard work, so that’s been taking up a lot of my time along with other standard school final exams and projects.

How has your senior year been different than your previous years at GTA?

Maleah: 2 words: Michael Jablonksi. Not only did he quickly become my favorite professor, but a really big mentor to me. He put faith and trust in me like no one else has. He was confident in what I could do before I was. He saw so much in me that I didn’t even know I had. For the first time in all my years here, I felt seen. My growth this semester is all thanks to him, and Giovanna, my vocal teacher. I would not be anywhere close to ready for the professional world if it wasn’t for them. And I am so so so grateful that they came in my last year here, when I really needed them. I will forever hold them in my heart and in my life.

Clara: The people. I’ve both met new people and gotten to know people better this year and it has made so much of a difference in how happy I am in the program. I didn’t make that many friends my freshman year, but I’ve been putting myself out there more this year, and it has sure paid off. The GTA leadership has made a massive difference, too. I got to be Wardrobe Crew Head for The Secret Garden, directed by our lovely Dr. C (GTA Associate Artistic Director & Brenau Chair of Theatre, Dr. Tracey Brent-Chessum), and I loved getting to see the great leadership she’s shown us! GTA seems to be on a path of change from where it was my freshman year and I think it’s changing for the better (and I’m someone who hates change, so that says a lot!)

Joshua: My age! Yeah, My first year with GTA was back in 2009. So naturally, a lot of things have changed around here and in my absence, as well. I stayed for two years and took time off to get acclimated and get an understanding of other ways of the world, and I think the biggest change is how my curiosity has turned into passion. What once used to make me feel excited in a naive way is now excitement that comes from “I know what I’m doing.” I’ve also had time to become more of a patient person, which has led to a lot of close relationships with the people here.

Clara Woodfield, BFA Design & Technology for Theatre (Costumes)

What advice would you give to the “freshman you”?

Maleah: I would say, “It’s going to suck. It’s gonna be hard, I’m not gonna lie. You’re gonna want to quit, pack up, and go home. But I promise you, it will all work out at the end. If I were to tell you, you’d never believe me. Just know, you’re gonna make it. And it’ll all be worth it.

Clara: You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone, not even you. If you feel more at home in the costume shop, just change your major, don’t wait until halfway through sophomore year.

Joshua: Don’t settle for anything until you’re where you feel you need to be and if you’re somewhere you feel like you shouldn’t be, learn and be friendly as much as you can while you’re there. Let yourself be known. If there’s a project that you desperately want to work on, even if you weren’t cast, do what you can to at least sit in on rehearsals because just getting in the room and being in the audience finds you that much closer to what you want to do on the stage. I’d tell him to do all that with humility as well. Everything that you take part in is never beneath you, and that’s crucial to keep in mind as an artist.

What is your biggest takeaway from being at GTA?

Maleah: Control what you can control, and what is meant to be yours, will be yours.

Clara: Do what makes you happy, honestly.

Joshua: I mean, besides the knowledge that I should check my schedule before I make plans, the ultimate takeaway is that this place is here, and that’s a blessing in itself. You can get from it what you need, as long as you know what that is.

Joshua Daugherty, BS Interdisciplinary Studies, concentrations in Theatre & Philosophy

What advice do you have for upcoming seniors?

Maleah: UTILIZE YOUR CLASS TIME!! There was a time here where classwork did not matter much. But now it does, so USE IT! The best work that I’ve ever done here was in class. I know it’s your senior year and we all want to be involved in shows. As a BFA Musical Theatre major who was never in a musical, I know how hard it is to not be involved in shows. BUT you have some great professors here who can and will guide you to where you need and want to be. All you have to do is listen, and be fearless in the room. You got this.

Clara: For the love of all things, TAKE PROGRESS PICTURES OF YOUR WORK! Take pictures of that prop you’re making, get pictures of yourself in rehearsal and backstage, take pictures of that really straight line you sewed or painted

Joshua: Don’t take classes that don’t make you want to learn and if you’re in classes that you don’t necessarily care about just find something to make the best of that. Separate from that, I truly believe that mentorship is the most important thing as a senior. Find the time to go reach out to people that you’re working on projects with and offer them your perspective. You’ll often find they’ve been itching to give theirs and you could really learn something from that. The first time I came around I didn’t ask for one, probably out of how audacious I was, but even then I had a lot of really close friends that taught me a lot of things. In coming back, I’d definitely say that I’ve been more specifically mentored by (GTA faculty) Gay Hammond, Zechariah Pierce, and Jayme McGhan and I’m forever grateful for their eagerness to help me with my passions and loves regarding theatre.

What are your after-graduation plans?

Maleah: You know the life of an actor, always auditioning. At this present moment I am still waiting on casting notices from a few summer stock theatres. I am still sending in auditions. If I don’t get booked for summer stock soon, then my plan is to go to New York right after graduation to stay with my high school best friends and go on all of the open call auditions I can. And then depending on that, my wife and I will either head straight to New York, or they will stay and work their interior design job in Atlanta while I’m booked at summer stock. And THEN we’ll go to New York! OH, and we’re celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary May 22nd!

Clara: I’m planning on moving to Kentucky with one of my best friends to pursue sewing somewhere that’s not as hot as Georgia and has more consistent weather.

Joshua: I relax with work that I like, because I’m a psychopath. You know, I have a couple of really great, fresh paperback spines that I am ready to break open, right? Eager to keep learning. This summer for me is not going to be a break from what I’ve been doing. It’s going to be a deeper dive into what I’m trying to get at from what I’ve been doing. So you know, I’ve been working for a couple tech internships and been hunting for jobs around the area and just continuing the hunger for producing more art. I think that one thing we’ve all learned after the pandemic is if we didn’t have art through the worst times in our life, it would just be a wild tangled ferment of darkness and sorrow waiting in the absence of life. To combat that I’m on a constant mission of feeding my soul, heart and mind.

Any last words you want to leave for us?

Maleah: Don’t be shocked when your playbill mentions me!

Clara: Thank you all so much for your support this year! I have so loved my time at GTA.

Joshua: For one thing, check out Heathen Valley, coming up on April 29th. That’s going to be a lot of fun. But I’d also say to never be shy about asking someone to let you into their life. And when somebody does let you into their life, I think you should let them know that that’s important to you. I like to live my life openly and for all, from any background, and it’s done wonders for me.

Be sure to check out Joshua Daughtry’s senior capstone, Heathen Valley by Romulus Linney, playing in UNG-Gainesville’s Ed Cabell Theatre April 29 at 7:30pm. Tickets on sale now!

Upcoming Graduate to Perform at Woodstock Playhouse

By Jeilianne Vazquez & Ethan Baez

Senior BFA Musical Theatre major Allie Hill is jumping into the theatre industry head-first this summer at the Woodstock Playhouse Summer Theatre Festival. Woodstock Playhouse is a celebrated site of American Theatre history, established in 1938 as one of the first rural extensions of Broadway and is a popular theatre on the summer stock circuit. Prominent actors and actresses have graced the stage at Woodstock, including Larry Hagman, Anne Meara, Peter Boyle, and Diane Keaton.

Allie will be originating a role in Gatsby: The New American Musical, which will get a staged reading during Woodstock’s summer festival. GTA audiences will remember Allie from her performances as Judy in 9 to 5, Martha in The Secret Garden, and Wallace in Living Out. We sat down with Allie to talk about the exciting opportunities she has coming up and how GTA has prepared her for her future in theatre.

BFA Musical Theatre major Allie Hill

How did you get cast at Woodstock Playhouse?

I auditioned for the A1 Conference back in January, and I got a callback for Woodstock through that. For the callback, I sang sides for certain shows in their season and sent them a vocal reel and a dance reel. They contacted me again and I had a phone interview. I got the offer around the middle of February.

What was it like auditioning at the A1 Conference? 

Well, it was virtual, so self-taping central. Funnily enough, I usually wear sweatpants or pajama pants or running shorts when I film, but I made myself put on a whole outfit, like shoes and everything just to make myself feel like I was really there and in person, which I think really helped. I actually had Covid when I first filmed my auditions, so I like to think that even Covid couldn’t stop me from getting the part. I was inside my house quarantining and drinking lots of fluid and trying to belt to this guy, but it all worked out in the end.

Tell us about the summer festival.

The festival runs from June 10 to August 21, and includes Footloose, Beauty and the Beast, Noises Off, Cabaret, and Gatsby. Gatsby is a new musical being adapted there, and I’m principally contracted under that show. I will be in the ensemble of all the other musicals and I have the opportunity to audition for Noises Off once I get there.

Allie Hill as Judy in 9 to 5

Are you excited to work on a new musical?

It’s really exciting to originate a role, but it’s also a little daunting to think about There’s all the music, all the lines, elements of a new show that people don’t really think of. But it’s also really exciting and creatively liberating to think about how I get to interpret it and not have any preconceived notions get in the way of that. Obviously I can consult my peanut gallery of friends and professors, but ultimately I get to make my own choices which is really freeing, especially considering the risks of imposter syndrome so it’s really nice to be able to do my own thing.

That’s a lot of shows in a short amount of time! What is the schedule like?

It is a lot. On one hand, we have to learn Footloose in nine days—it’s nine 10-out-of-12 rehearsals and then we open. On the other hand, the rush of theater is intoxicating. I want to eat musical theater for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day anyways, so I’m really grateful and excited to be a part of shows I love.

How has GTA prepared you for life after graduation?

I’m very grateful for all of GTA. I think this place is great, but the Audition Technique class with Michael Jablonski has really helped me learn how much work you need to do before bringing in a song or a monologue or even a side to an audition or callback. In class, we review three different sectors of analysis for a song, and the one that really helps me with the music analysis is where we look at the more technical elements in music, such as time signatures and verbiage, and how it kind of tells you how to act out a song. Growing up as someone who was primarily a singer I had in my head that I just have to sing what’s written and sing it correctly, but it’s really about your acting more than anything. It’s crazy actually, everything is literally laid out in front of you textually and musically and it’s up to you to decide how to interpret what you’re analyzing.

What is your advice for upcoming GTA students?

It’s cliche, but truly you’ve got to show up, be kind, and be thankful. I feel like we all sometimes fall into the trap of thinking it is our right to perform when it is an absolute privilege. Opening night could also be closing night, and we never know the last time we’re gonna be able to perform, so take every single opportunity as a gift. I think the passion speaks for itself, so, if you’re really passionate about what you’re doing, you’re gonna get there. That’s the attitude you have to bring to all the auditions you’ll be doing.

Do you have final thoughts about your time with GTA?

Not to make myself a tree and be sappy, but I am so grateful for GTA and all my friends and professors who have really poured into me and made sure that I was taking care of myself while also taking care of my art. It’s really important to me—I’m really going to miss it here. I’m excited to go to Woodstock but I’m not excited to leave the people I’ve created bonds with over the years. Still though, I am very thankful.

Celebrating Women’s History Month

By Jeilianne Vazquez

 

“Wherever women gather together, failure is impossible” – Susan B Anthony

 

March is Women’s History Month! In celebration of this month, I spoke to senior BA Theatre major Katelyn Zeller and freshman BA Theatre major Emily LaPollo to discuss what it’s like being a woman in theatre.

Katelyn Zeller
BA Theatre major

What does Women’s History Month mean to you ?

Katelyn: I believe it is about acknowledging all of the great achievements women have made throughout history and celebrating the importance of what it means to be a woman.
Emily: To me, it means a chance to celebrate some of the most amazing people in the world. It is a time to bring awareness to the struggles that women have faced and continue to face to this day. Women literally make the world go round. They are strong, independent, and fearless. We deserve a month at the very least to be celebrated.

 

If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be?

Katelyn: I would like to have dinner with Morgan Marcell, Meryl Streep, and Lily James. I look up to these people for their work in the arts.
Emily: Eva Noblezada, Megan Thee Stallion, and Rihanna

 

What is your experience being a woman in theatre and the arts? Have you faced any barriers and, if so, how have you overcome them?

Emily LaPollo
BA Theatre major

Emily: Being a woman in the arts is not easy. I have found that in the past I have not been taken seriously and that is something I have to be aware of. I think comparison is my biggest barrier, not just in theatre but in everyday life. I constantly compare myself to other actresses and their styles and I wonder if I’m good enough. In today’s society, social media is notorious for being detrimental to confidence. There are so many women with the “perfect” skin, bodies, clothes, etc. on their feed and the rest of us have to scroll and feel horrible about ourselves. However, I remind myself that all I am is enough and I have to remind myself how amazing I am. We are all perfect in our own ways and a little self love goes a long way.

 

What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve been given?

Katelyn: Always trust in your abilities. Trying and failing is better than never trying at all.
Emily: The most important piece of advice I have been given is that it’s okay to make mistakes. Failure is inevitable and life has become so much easier now that I have learned to accept that.

 

Who has inspired you and helped you become who you are today?

Katelyn: The person who has inspired me the most has been my grandmother. She always encouraged me to follow my aspirations in life and remind myself of how much power I could hold if I just believed in myself.
Emily: Both my mom and my grandma are such strong and beautiful women inside and out. My grandma came here from Italy with my grandfather and they built a life for themselves out of nothing. They have always given us everything, but they didn’t always have everything. That has been super humbling and it taught me to appreciate things more. My mom has always put me first and worked really hard to support me, as a single mother. Both of their sacrifices have helped me to become the best self I can be.

 

What made you choose to study theatre?

Katelyn: This is a question I have always asked myself time and time again and my answer has changed constantly throughout the years. But to me, theatre shows people hope, what life can be, and shines a light on what the world is like.
Emily: I have a general anxiety disorder and it is actually therapeutic for me to take on a role and escape my reality every once in a while. It has become my safe place and makes me feel like I belong.

Costume Design for Rapunzel

Costume Designer Pamela Workman is an Assistant Professor at Brenau University. She is the costume designer for GTA’s upcoming production of The Secret Garden, and recently designed costumes for Lexington Children’s Theatre‘s Shooting Stars YouTheatre production of Rapunzel. We ask Pamela to tell us all about this professional opportunity and her process of creating costumes for a fairytale story.

How did this project come about?

This design opportunity came about because I had worked with Octavia Biggs, the director, years ago on another TYA productions. I heard she was in need of a costume designer, so I sent her a text saying “Heard you need a designer. Want to work together again? Call me anytime.” She was instantly on the phone with me and we agreed to work together on Rapunzel.

Did the actor’s ages influence your design choices?

Theatre for Young Audiences focuses on the ages of the audience. You want lots of color and texture and shapes in order to keep Elementary and Middle-School-aged kids interested.

Where did the inspiration for the costumes come from?

The director chooses the final concept for a show. I can offer my input as a designer, but the director has the final stamp of approval. Octavia was pulled towards cubism artwork that was created by the Shooting Stars YouTheatre students. She presented this to the design team and we ran with it.

What elements of the script are shown in the costumes?

The only real descriptions in the script were the long blonde hair that keeps growing. Rapunzel starts the show bald and then her hair keeps growing until it is about 20 feet long. The other description is when Rapunzel dyes all her hair purple and then cuts it off. The main thing about this script is that it rhythmically moves fast and the actors never leave the stage.

What is the process you usually use to approach shows and how did that relate to this one?

I always start with reading the script, then move into a concept meeting. Then multiple design meetings with research, sketches, paperwork, renderings, and troubleshooting. The main obstacle for this production was how to deal with the wigs. I posted in a couple of Facebook groups to get some ideas. In the end, I came up with my own solution of a series of braids that clip on. Twenty-six yards of silk were used for the braids and I used Shibori dye techniques to create them in my kitchen.

How often are you in contact with the director?

I was in contact with the director via meetings every two weeks until the designs were approved. Once the cubism style was chosen, Octavia pretty much let me go with what my brain gravitated towards. Then I worked on my own and built the show. Fellow GTA faculty Terri Becker and Celeste Morris, along with my kids, helped me paint the final looks.

What is the nature of the costumes, in terms of build? Did you get overalls and paint/design over them, or did you build overalls from scratch with designs printed?

I had to invent the Thai fisherman pants. Those don’t exist in life. For the overall dress and overalls I used patterns from JoAnn Fabrics. I took the children’s artwork that was commissioned for this project and had them printed on fabric. Those were strategically placed on the bleached muslin shells, then I drew out and painted to continue the children’s artwork through the entire costume. I never saw the costumes on the actors until I showed up in Kentucky for first dress. That was the first and only time they were fitted into costumes.

Congrats to the GTA New Works Festival Winners!

The GTA New Works Festival is over for this year but we are still thinking about the beautiful, original work we saw! On Saturday night of the festival, GTA Shorts featured seven short plays written and directed by students and two awards were presented. The Playwright’s Choice Award was presented to Jeilianne Vazquez for her play Mi Familia, and the Audience Choice Award was presented to Halli Rider for her play Truth or Dare. Both winners received a one-year membership to Working Title Playwrights, a new play incubator and service organization providing playwrights with development opportunities, workshops, and networking events. We sat down with Jeilianne and Halli to discuss their plays.

 

BA Theatre major, Jeilianne Vazquez

Tell us about your play, Mi Familia.

The play is about a Puerto Rican family who are having dinner. Abuelo is back from Puerto Rico while his daughter is separated from her husband, and we see how that affects the two older kids and their relationships with each other.

What inspired the script? Were you drawing from your real life?

They are based on my family, extended family, my latino friends family–basically every family I’ve ever known. I wrote it my freshman year and submitted it to a play festival honoring Latinx playwrights in Atlanta. Unfortunately, it wasn’t chosen, but when it was time to submit for the New Works Festival, I decided to look at it again and give it a second chance. I made some edits and here we are!

At the time you wrote the script, did you already have a writing method, or was this project a step towards creating that method?

This wasn’t my first script for the GTA (I had a play in last year’s festival) but I did have a different approach. This year, I just wanted to write what I know. My process is evolving and I’m discovering what works for me.

What was it like being in the audience of your own play?

It was great! I think if I hadn’t seen any rehearsals I would have been very nervous. But, I was able to go to two of the last rehearsals and I was in awe of the work that had been done. The actors Michelle Stover, Marcello Valencia, Madelyn Moreno, and Juan Suarez were absolutely incredible and were guided by the great Otis McDaniel (director). I was fully confident in them and they exceeded my expectations.

Congratulations on winning the Playwright’s Choice Award. What was going through your head when you won?

I was just in shock! I was extremely happy and grateful. I was just so proud of my cast and director. All the hard work that was put in and they shined! I was just so happy. Latino stories were being shared and honored. I couldn’t ask for anything better.

What’s next for you? Are there any scripts that you are working on?

Right now, I’m working on a full-length play for next year’s New Works Festival. I have some other short scripts I’d like to polish and possibly expand. I haven’t decided if I want Mi Familia to be full-length. We will see!

 

Halli Rider, BFA Acting major

Tell us about your play, Truth or Dare.

Truth or Dare is about two newly found anxious and odd roommates who find themselves out of food and an internet connection. After ordering pizza, they decide to play a friendly game of truth or dare to pass the time. 

What inspired the script? Were you drawing from your real life?

I definitely pulled from my life in small aspects. I was rooming with one of my best friends when Covid first hit, and we both are very anxious people by nature. That is kind of what sparked the idea, and then it kind of snowballed from that.

Something that I would like to point out is that Hollis and Charlie are gender-neutral in the script. I did this keeping high school theatre programs in mind. When I was in high school, we would often have to gender-bend characters because we didn’t have enough guys. I wrote the characters as gender-neutral to allow anyone to be able to play them!

At the time you wrote the script, did you already have a writing method, or was this project a step towards creating that method?

When I first started writing Truth or Dare, I was in my first playwriting class. I had never really written anything before (aside from small creative writing projects) so the idea of playwriting was really new to me. Needless to say, I didn’t have any method for writing. In the class, we had to complete a one-act play as our final, which is where I got most of the material for Truth or Dare. It actually comes from my one-act entitled Hey, Sorry to Bother You!, where the characters play truth or dare in the last ten minutes of the play. My process is still currently evolving, as I am still very new to writing, but I am slowly finding what motivates me and what doesn’t!

What was it like being in the audience of your own play?

At first, I was really nervous because it was the first time I was going to see it all the way through with props and on the Ed Cabell stage. So, it was a little scary at first, but as soon as the actors started, they had such an easygoing energy about them (which is exactly what I felt when I was writing the characters), I was able to enjoy it. A lot of that ease came from the director, Dellan Short. He directed the heck out of it. During the rehearsal process, I tried to make it to rehearsals whenever I could, but I never felt worried that the show wouldn’t be good. I never had to worry about whether or not something in the writing would get lost because Dellan pays such close attention to detail, and makes sure choices from the actors are clean and well read from an audience’s point of view. However, while he pays attention to details, he also allows the actors to find their own version of the character. He’s great at making sure he gives the actors freedom to play while making sure it works for the character.

Congratulations on winning the Audience Choice Award. What was going through your head when you won?

It was a very overwhelming, yet exciting feeling. I’m not sure what to call it. I was honestly just super proud of the people I got to work with (Dellan Short, Molly Van Buren, Olivia Leslie, and Corbin Adriano), cause they all worked so hard, and they made a show that I wrote come to life in the best way possible.

What’s next for you? Are there any scripts that you are working on?

I actually just finished my first full-length play this past semester. It’s called A Spoonful of Chaos, and it takes place in a tiny ice cream shop in Tennessee. It was super challenging to write in one semester, so it is currently in the revision stage. However, I’m going to be submitting it for the New Works Festival next year, and if it gets chosen then you can learn more about it!

 

Meet the Crew of Our Town

By Jeilianne Vazquez & Ethan Baez

 
As Our Town comes to a close, we want to spotlight the backstage crew who make the magic happen. Peyton Wehunt, Prop Master, and Allison Lamb, Assistant Stage Manager, work hard on the tiny details that really make the show come to life. We asked them about their process, their perspective on the show and script, and what this show means to them.

 

Peyton Wehunt, BFA Design & Technology for Theatre major

Tell us about yourself and what it means to be Prop Master for Our Town.

Peyton: I’m Peyton, and I’m a sophomore here, BFA tech design with a focus in scenery and costumes. Working on Our Town props has been a lot of fun. It’s not a show that has a tremendous amount of props. It’s very mime-focused. For me, personally, I felt like those props really needed to stand out and tell their own story in their own way. So working on those props (I believe there are five), every single one of them has either been completely handmade from scratch or has been pulled from storage. For example, we have some songbooks in the show. We got them out of an abandoned church and they are from the early 1900s. It was a miracle that they weren’t torn to pieces.

All those little things have been fun and honestly, I would say, a little more challenging than the bigger shows that we do. Because in those shows I probably have a hundred props. You can say, “This is a great baby bottle, we’re moving on,” however, for something like this, those five props are gonna get seen a lot closer. The audience can say, “Why is that prop real if the others are fake? What gives it that justification?.” You’ve got to spend more time and justify its existence.

Do you just have organizational control? Or did you have any hand in actually making them?

Peyton: The work of a Prop Master is a little weird because we’re kind of what we call ourselves, and by ourselves I mean me, the “redheaded stepchild” of the backstage crew. You find yourself lumped in with Paint Charges and Board Operators, but prop masters go to production meeting, while those other positions don’t come into the process until tech week. Prop Masters deal with more design work. We do script analysis; reading the script, trying to find the meaning behind the text, making our list of everything needed for the show, researching the time period and what that time period looks like for these specific pieces. Once you get that paperwork done, you gotta go out and figure out what’s in prop storage. If we don’t have it in prop storage, can we borrow it? If we can’t borrow it, can we buy it? And then the buying is a whole process. We’re kind of in the middle because on the one hand, we don’t get to go to design meetings and we are not considered designers. But, on the other hand, we are more involved in the pre-production process than most other technical positions are. So it’s kind of a unique space!

Is part of your process removing emotion from the script, or do you like to keep it there? How long does it take? What’s your experience with that?

Peyton: That’s a great question. It’s complicated because my first read-through of a script is just to get an idea of what the show is about. I actively don’t watch shows I haven’t worked on before because I don’t want to muddy my work with somebody else’s or accidentally steals somebody’s idea. So I find myself reading through the first time just to get an idea of what the show is about, and then I read the second time to start breaking things down. For example, I am currently working on The Secret Garden. For Mary’s props, I’m going through and looking for things like what kind of person is Mary? And then I have to hone in on it. What would her doll have on it? What would a doll for her be like?

In Our Town, the newspaper bag for the paperboy gets handed down generation after generation. You really have to dive into the script and realize that this bag doesn’t just belong to the paper boy. When he leaves this job, it’s going to the next guy and it’s not gonna be a one size fits all so we have to adjust accordingly, so I make little notes about that. But really, those honed-in, fine details don’t come until I go and see a rehearsal. It’s really just words on a page until you see an actor make it come to life.

What connections do you have to this show?

Peyton: The show really does make you hone in on the idea that everything happens really fast and you’ve really got to sit down and appreciate the moments you have with people, because if you don’t, you’ll end up down the line realizing how much you regret it.

What character do you relate to the most?

Peyton: I really gravitate to Editor Webb. There’s a lot of characters that have their own personalities, but don’t get the real moments to shine, or they have a little humorous moment, but then that’s all they are, a humorous moment or a serious moment. But Editor Webb kind of falls in the middle. It’s a big bummer, because I don’t make any props for him but I really like that character! He’s not portrayed the way that you would imagine a father in the early 1900s to be. He feels like a person you would talk to now. It’s not entirely because of the script. Sammy Nelson does a terrific job of making you feel those emotions, but his connection with Emily (Maddie Compton) on stage is also really good. You can really feel that father-daughter connection between them.

Once the show starts, do you start taking your foot off the gas a little bit? Or do you have backstage duties that you’re responsible for?

Peyton: While we do get to breathe a little bit, my job isn’t done. For example, with Living Out, I focused on the heavy-hitter props, like the food, that had to get reset and cleaned and replaced every night. If it’s a show with weapons, those weapons need to be cleaned and maintained every show. You’ve got to see it through all the way to strike. You’ve got some stuff to do, but if we’re going 100 miles an hour, all the way to opening, after the show opens you’re probably going, maybe 45.

Anything that you want to tell the audience?

Peyton: I try to take one of the props and I make a little easter egg for the next show that’s coming up. In Living Out, there was a train that was sitting on the set, representing Murder On The Orient Express. There is a hint on the Our Town stage for The Secret Garden, so anybody in the audience that’s watching, see if you can try to figure out where our easter egg is! There are only five props, so I have no doubt somebody will find it.

 

Alison Lamb, BA Theatre major

Tell us about yourself and your role for Our Town.

Alison: I am a junior BA Theatre major and I am an Assistant Stage Manager for Our Town. Basically what that means is that I assist Kailie, our Stage Manager, help with paperwork, set up the rehearsal space, and run the show.

​​Have you read the show and if so, do you need to know the show to be a good stage manager?

Alison: I like to read whatever play I’m working on at least once or twice before rehearsal. I was already familiar with Our Town, but do you have to be familiar with it to be a good stage manager? Absolutely. I don’t know how you would function if you didn’t know what was happening. In order to be on top of things, you have to have a good idea. The interesting thing about tech and stage management is that when you’re reading a script, you’re looking for very different things than an actor would, because we’re in charge of tracking deck, tracking props, and tracking costumes.

Do you find any emotional relevance in the work that you do as a stage manager?

Alison: Absolutely! I can’t speak for all stage managers, but if they don’t, I’m not sure why they’re working in theatre. The emotional side is partly why I get excited about it. I mean yes, doing paperwork and stuff is very satisfying. But also at the end of the day, I’m there for the story and what the script and the play has to offer the audience and the cast, just as much as anyone else. I’m just experiencing it in a slightly different way. Stage managers are potentially reading the play even more than the actors are, because we have to analyze the script, write up paperwork and then be “on book” during rehearsal, in case an actor forgets their line. When the actors are “off book”, we’re still looking at the script in case they need a line. So we’re reading the script night after night. You pick up on a lot of details that you missed at the very beginning. That also kind of helps with motivation and passion for the work that you’re doing because you find little bits of gold here and there that you know aren’t gonna stand out. An audience might never see it but we know, and it’s so cool. In the rehearsal room, I would be sitting next to the rest of the stage management team or Zechariah (the director), and something clicks at the same time for multiple people. Then you just look over and it’s like “Wait, like did you hear that? That’s right!” So all of that is definitely emotionally grounded.

Why do you want to be a Stage Manager? What do you love about it?

Alison: Well, the interesting thing about stage management is that stage managers are one of the biggest cogs in the wheel, but also, they are one of the biggest areas that no one sees. Of course, if you’re working in professional theatre, you know how much stage management does. But for the average person, if you say, “Oh, I’m a stage manager,” they will have no idea what your role is. The idea of being such an integral part of the massive enterprise of theatre is really attractive to me because it leaves the work to speak for itself. Being behind the scenes, a kind of stage ninja. If you’re doing your job right no one knows you’re there. I’m always attracted to the people who are moving mountains and never get recognition or the people who are making the world go round but no one quite sees them do it. I think that kind of speaks to our world and how the little guy can make a difference. And just every day, seemingly small things, you know, end up changing the world.

What is a normal day as far as rehearsals look like?

Alison: Stage management usually gets to rehearsal 45 minutes before anyone else. We make sure that the stage is swept and cleaned, we preset for the show, we set up all the props, make sure everything’s in place and where it needs to be. We make sure that all of the actors are present and feeling well. If anybody’s running late then we call them and make sure that we’re helping them in any way that we can. Because of COVID, we check everybody’s temperature. Our stage manager Kailie is in the booth during runs. She is calling the show and that’s the majority of what she’s doing. Once we hit go, that’s her one big job! Makes everything go round. For ASM’s like me and Phoebe (Sweatman), we’re making sure that nothing catastrophic happens backstage. We are on headset, so we’re in constant communication with stage management and other crew members. If anything needs to be stopped or delayed, we’re all in communication to create a safe environment and to keep everybody updated.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Alison: Sometimes I think that straight plays get a bad rap. We all love the big musical that has all the dance numbers. I’m a sucker for musicals because you’ve got to love all of the pretty, shiny work that’s happening. But I think plays, like Our Town, get overshadowed which is such a shame because Our Town is such a beautiful story. It’s one of the simplest places maybe ever. Even when you walk in the space, you’ll see two ladders and the table, and it only gets simpler. In the third act, really the point of the story is seeing beautiful things in the mundane, that life is worth living because of the small moments. Truly living life, not doing crazy, big things but just simply being with each other and having community. I think that that is something that we all need reminders of.

 

Meet the Cast of Our Town

By Jeilianne Vazquez & Ethan Baez

 
It’s opening night of Our Town! This show has come together in a short amount of time and we are so proud of the cast and crew and can’t wait to share their hard work and creativity with the community.

Our Town presents the small town of Grover’s Corners in three acts, and depicts the simple daily lives of the Webb and Gibbs families as their children fall in love, marry, and pass on–ultimately reminding us of the importance of living our lives with intent and purpose.

The newest member of the GTA Marketing Team, Ethan Baez, interviewed cast members Marcello Valencia and Anna Nowosielski. Marcello is a junior BA Theatre major who plays Sam Craig, and Anna is a junior BFA Acting major who plays Mrs. Soames. They tell us what the shortened rehearsal experience was like, and

 

Marcello Valenica
BA Theatre major

Marcello, tell us about your role in Our Town?

Marcello: My character’s name is Sam Craig, he is a cousin of the main two families. He comes back to town after everything that has transpired. He wasn’t in the picture, though the majority of the show. And so he comes back after a tragedy. The town that he once knew is not the same, so much has changed. The guilt of him leaving and not maintaining a connection with the place where he grew up is really hitting him. It’s a moment that the audience will see how it goes from the normal, happy, and joyful tone to a very serious and realistic one.

You mention your character has been gone. He’s coming back to his hometown and it’s changed. For your characterization, are you drawing from personal experience?

Marcello: Yeah, he had other desires. A lot of people from Grover’s Corners want to have a family. They wanted to live a very quaint life, but he saw himself doing bigger things. He wanted something beyond that. He knew if he stayed there he wasn’t gonna change and he wasn’t really going to grow. That’s why he left and he doesn’t regret it. However, there is a sense of guilt. As you know, all these people that I’ve loved are gone now. He sees these people who he should know he should be close with when he’s not. There’s a part of him that says, what if I did stay? Or what if I didn’t choose to grow but just stay in the safe place? He’s really contemplating that during his scene.

You mentioned that the play shifts in tone a lot from being very joyful, happy and exciting to something more introspective and painful. You’re going into rehearsals every night, and you’re playing this pain. Do you have a process to get out of that painful acting?

Marcello: A lot of it is just appreciating it. It’s not like you have to get out of it. The purpose of the show is to emphasize how precious life is. How we really don’t take advantage of it as much as we should and no one truly can. You can say 20 million times, “oh my gosh, life is so precious, I need to take advantage” but if you’re truly living in the moment, you can’t take advantage of every aspect of it. You know, you can only live as much as you know. There’s a scene where it goes back in time. She’s trying to live that moment, but it’s hard for her because she knows so much about the future. It just really emphasizes at the end of the day, life is so short and you have to really just appreciate the people you have.

So, we’ve talked a little bit about your process of getting in and out of character. We’ve talked a little bit about what the show means to you. How do those contribute to the rehearsal process as a whole? What’s a day-to-day rehearsal look like for you?

Marcello: I’m not gonna lie, it’s a lot of sitting! I am near the end of the show and obviously because I wouldn’t make sense for my character to just pop up! A lot of it is just watching and understanding the show, just really taking it in. Seeing these characters go through that process of their process so I can better understand mine. Seeing them try to keep such a bright and happy tone regardless of them knowing, hey, it is gonna be a gut-wrencher. Watching them work on that and seeing these beautiful moments. It helps with my character when I’m thinking “oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine what these moments that I’ve missed that I could have been a part of if I just stayed.” So I’m learning from them and watching how they do acting and take on their roles is beautiful to see.

Anything else you’d like to add on about the show?

Marcello: If it wasn’t obvious already, bring some tissues! It is an amazing show. This is just one of those shows where I think everyone needs to see and it’s a great reminder that life is so precious. Make sure you tell those people that you love them one extra time. Don’t take for granted the little things.

 

Anna Nowosielski
BFA Acting major

Hi Anna, could you tell us about yourself and your role?

Anna: My name is Anna Nowosielski. I am a BFA acting major and I’m a junior. In Our Town, I’m playing the role of Mrs. Soames and I’m understudying Mrs.Webb.

Do you have any familiarity with Our Town? Is this the first time you’ve performed in the show?

Anna: I had some familiarity with it. I’ve seen it a couple times, some versions better than others. One of the things that I’ve always really enjoyed about seeing Our Town and experiencing the story of the show, and what the show represents is the simplicity of it, and how that simplicity is so powerful and so poignant. How it really is a play that anyone can do and anyone can do well and it still always lands and especially in that last moment. The beauty of the simple life is able to shine through in a way that always really connects well with audiences.

I’ve spoken with some of the other cast and crew and we’ve talked about this idea of the emotional relevance of a show being a reminder versus being a lesson. Could you speak on that?

Anna: Yeah, I don’t think it’s a lesson just because a lesson makes it feel like it’s very harsh and hard. Even though the story of Our Town has very deep and intense final moments and a very deep and intense meaning, it absolutely is a reminder just to look around and have that patience and love for one another. Have that patience and love with yourself and with your own life and appreciate all the moments as they pass by. For me personally, it’s definitely been a great reminder to just be with the people around me more and appreciate who I have in my life and appreciate the life that I have. Life can be really difficult sometimes and you can really get caught up in worrying. But, sometimes that really isn’t as important when you’re considering the fact that you have so much to be grateful for and you have so many people around you that you really gotta take the time to notice.

Does this discovery come from your analysis of the script or analysis of the character a little bit of both?

Anna: Well, the character I play is the town gossip. She does like to stir the pot, she definitely does. But I really do admire how much she loves. You don’t see her a lot, but in Act 2, her entire purpose is just to show the joy of not only the families, but also the townspeople at a very joyous celebration, a wedding. I absolutely do think that while it’s kind of a funny bit, it’s nice to just be the person who’s like, “God, isn’t this a wonderful moment? Isn’t this beautiful, isn’t this incredible?” I’m very lucky to be working with some incredible actors, incredible crew members, and incredible directors. They have really just helped create the world of the story and the world of the town. Every time we settle in for a run you definitely are like, “yep. I need to call my mom more.”

With your character of the town gossip, how easy was it for you to settle into this kind of character? And if there was a process, how much of it was your general approach to acting and how much of it was “I’m going to use this for this character”?

Anna: So, I love talking to people, even though I myself can be a very introverted person. However, I’m a very loud and expressive person in normal life. I love observing people and while I don’t think of myself as a very gossipy person, I do think I’m a very observant person and I think most actors are. In that sense, Mrs. Soames is if I just said all the things I was observing out loud all the time. I think in the first act, she definitely comes off as a rude person. But in the second act, it’s definitely shown that she really cares about the people in Our Town and she really loves the people in her town. Then in the third act, it’s shown again that she especially loves the main character, Emily. That she really cares for the young people in the town. She really wants them to have a good life. And I agree, I also want young people to have a good life. I think that she has a good heart, I like to think that I have a good heart. I didn’t want to characterize her because it was a big thing Zechariah Pierce instilled into us as our director. He didn’t want us to characterize these characters. So, I definitely had to work to just make sure that she was authentic. Even in the moments where she is like being gossipy, it was very grounded in reality and not hateful for the sake of being hateful.

How is your process of finding more humanity in these characters as opposed to just finding a caricature?

Anna: I think for finding the humanity in the characters, the main purpose of it is to make it feel like this is a real place and that they are real people that even that audience members can connect with and even us as actors can connect with. Because there’s definitely a difference between I’m over here playing a real character and someone over here playing a character. Your connection is always going to be different. Especially for those of us who have ensemble roles, who are very simple, it’s very easy. I think, at least from my understanding and from my experience, it’s very easy to slip into a caricature and just be like, this is what I do instead of really looking at your character. From what I’ve observed and what I’ve seen, I think my fellow castmates have done an incredible job of really observing the characters and really figuring out what they’re about, what they’re doing, making sure that every moment that we’re on stage, we are in character. We’re not just playing the little guy next door in this podunk little town. We are making these moments really come to life and being present in those moments.

Anything else you’d like to add on about the show?

Anna: Come see Our Town! I think it’s an incredible show. It’s just a beautiful show about life. Anyone can come see it! It is truly a wonderful piece of art and I am so grateful and so lucky to be a part of this cast and this show.

 

What’s The Most Important Thing You’ve Learned?

By Jeilianne Vazquez

 
Happy Friday, GTA! The semester is coming to a close. What a great fall semester, in my opinion! We started with the beautiful show Living Out, solved a mystery with Murder on The Orient Express, and tonight we open the iconic show 9 to 5. A few of our students tell us the most important thing they have learned this semester.

Allie Hill, Senior, BFA Musical Theatre

I have learned how important prioritizing myself and self care is, and the power of saying no.❤️ That I can’t be who I need to be for others if I am not there for myself first! And that means sometimes shutting off the laptop, putting your phone on airplane mode, and sitting with yourself for a little while!!! And it’s helped a lot.
 
 
 

Nicko Gonzalez, Sophomore, BA Theatre

What I have learned this semester is time management. Being a full time student, but also a person involved in a major production, I have learned how to carve out time to do my homework and time for me to relax and watch some Netflix.
 
 
 
 

Anna Nowosielski, Junior, BFA Acting

I learned to just let go of the things I can’t control. With all the twists and turns that this semester took, there were definitely moments when I got caught up in all the challenging parts and almost didn’t fully enjoy all the wonderful and joyful parts of the semester, which were plentiful.
 
 
 

Aiden Anzaldua, Freshman, BA Theatre

I would say I learned a lot about managing my stress and my mental health throughout my first years of college, especially having moved from Texas to here. Tt took a little bit to adapt to everything.
 
 
 
 

Rentavious Buffington, Senior, BA Theatre

I learned that the most important thing you can do is to put yourself first. Everything else will follow.
 
 
 
 
 

Michelle Stover, Sophomore, BA Theatre

One thing I learned was to trust the process, and not be discouraged, because things have a way of working out in the end.
 
 
 
 

How to Prep for Finals Week

By Jeilianne Vazquez

 

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” –Karin Seddiki

We hope you had a very safe and fun Halloween last weekend! It’s now November, and this semester has flown by. Finals are coming up for GTA students, and on top of that, we have the beautiful fall breeze coming in, a new holiday coming up, and the incredible production of 9 to 5, opening next week. It is a delicate balance for students, so this week’s blog post gives you my top 5 tips for preparing for finals week.

Go To Class Regularly

I know those 9 am classes are getting harder to go to. I love to sleep in, but you cannot afford to miss those classes this semester! Go to bed early, so waking up isn’t so hard in the morning, or establish a nice morning routine to get you up. I know it’s hard, but the break will be here before you know it, and you can sleep in through Thanksgiving! At least that’s what I’ll be doing.

Stay On Top Of Your Homework

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can get done today. If you have the time, get it done!

Talk To Your Professor

If you are confused about the final or haven’t received a study guide yet, reach out! I personally get anxious about talking to my professors, but our professors want us to succeed. If there is any confusion on what is expected from you, go ahead and send an email.

Come Up With A Study plan and start studying now

If you already have your study guide or know what to study for your finals, start studying now. Look over your notes or do the first draft of that essay. It will make things easier come finals week.

Be physically prepared

Eat food, get sleep, and hydrate! I don’t know who needs to hear this, but pulling an all-nighter and cramming a bunch of information in your brain is not a helpful studying habit. It’s not worth losing sleep and burning out your brain. Study at an average pace and set the alarm to get ready for bed. Everyone is different, so people can run on different sleep schedules. No matter your agenda, make sure you sleep. Also, stay healthy! The weather is changing, and colds are common but do your best to not get sick.
 

GTA, we got this!