Blazing the Trail to My Arcadia Theater Experience
I was lucky enough to be cast in Arcadia’s winter production of Trailblazers in the one act Springtime as Greta. What an exciting welcome into the Arcadia Theater family.
I’ve done theatre for about 8 years now, but this was my first time doing theatre since high school. The audition terrified me. I hadn’t had the chance to prep and almost didn’t audition, but at the last minute, 5 hours before my tryout, I decided to memorize a monologue. I was shocked when I got a callback and elated when I got cast in the show.
I was really anxious for rehearsals to begin, but once the process began I was immediately put at ease. The first rehearsal was a meeting with all the actors and crew to discuss the dramaturgy of the works, ideas for costume and set, and to do a read-through of the pieces. We got to spend a few rehearsals exploring the content on the page, which helped so much in the process of getting into character. We were able to create such a deep background for these characters, making a show with several quick, time-jumping, scene changes.
The blocking phase (where we go through and add movement/set/props to a scene) of rehearsals was so freeing. In my previous experience, blocking has been deeply planned out by the director, but with McKenna Kerrigan, the wonderful director for Springtime and Overtones, we were encouraged to explore the set and do what felt natural.
The show itself was a difficult one for me because of how deeply my character, Greta, feels, but it was simultaneously liberating to be so deeply in character and feel what she feels. Greta goes through a lot in the show, suffering from chronic illness and being cared for by her lover Rainbow, who turns to sex work to provide for Greta. When Greta discovers this it creates a great divide in their relationship and in Greta, who ultimately subjects herself to a deal with the man Rainbow works for to free Rainbow from that responsibility, which ends their relationship. The role was specifically difficult for me because Greta goes on a very emotional journey throughout the show, crying and yelling in her already weakened state. But with the support from the cast and crew, I felt so comfortable with the theatre family by the time the show closed.
Tech week was a lot, but something I was used to as a theatre veteran. For those unfamiliar, tech week normally starts the weekend before the show, consisting of 12-hour rehearsal days leading up to long 4- to 5-hour rehearsals the weekdays prior to opening night. Normally I feel unprepared come opening night, but with this show, even though it was a short rehearsal period, I felt ready to perform for an audience before opening night and was able to give my all for the actual performances.
I had been anxious at the beginning of this process. This was my first show at Arcadia and I wanted to make a good impression and prove that they made the right choice in casting me. But all that fell away when I became involved in the program. Anyone in any major can audition to be in a theatre production, but it’s safe to say I’ll be declaring as an acting major soon.