Back at School, or, How turkey time was exactly what I needed

Familiar scene. Back from break, well-rested but still sleepy, clean laundry, excitement of reunions, and most importantly, the huge pile of work that’s been ignored for the past ten days or so. Every single time, I fall victim to this situation: I get way too engrossed in being home and doing homey things that all of the sudden it’s the day I’m going back to school and all that progress I’d planned on making has certainly not… well..progressed. So before I jump into that pile of reading and writing that awaits me, let me give a quick play by play for the last lovely week.

Arrived home Friday evening, Schuyler in tow, both of us dead from stress/work/sleep deprivation. We trade witticisms over chinese take-out and then watch The Kids Are All Right on demand, before an early bedtime. Her flight leaves at some ungodly hour the next day, and after I drop her off in my pajamas at Logan, I promptly go back to sleep for 5 more hours and wake up feeling in full vacation mode.

That night, I was lured out of the comfort of said pajamas (they didn’t come off till 7 or 8 pm) to go into Boston and see some bates grad friends. This happened to turn into the most wholesome evening ever. We baked brownies and watched The Princess Bride. Sounds like an ideal night for a 12 year old right? Well, my friend Eric and I thought it was a perfect choice for us too. Even his roommates who were on their way out for the night paused at our choice of evening entertainment, although I swear it was because they were jealous of the delicious smelling brownies.

I went back, the next day, to watch another movie with a different roommate on the same couch. We watched The Road. What a bummer… I was in no mood for a post-apocalyptic downer. Of all the post-apocalyptic movies I’ve seen (and I watch a lot of them. Guy friends= action and post-apocalyptic movie nights) this one was the least entertaining. Give me some zombies or something! Or battle scenes. Gore! Blood! Anything! That being said, I know that it was a great book and supposedly leaves the viewer/reader with a sense of hope, but I guess I just wasn’t in any sort of mood to take a film like that seriously.

Other things that happened: seeing a high school friend who had been studying abroad in Australia, having lunch with my boss from this summer (we traded stories of heartbreaks and dissected my career options), getting my field hockey team from high school together to have an annual lunch with our coach (who is 7 months pregnant!!), thanksgiving eating, more eating, pies, more pies, relatives, more relatives, and more high school reunions.

I think the stuff around Thanksgiving gets fuzzy because it is surrounded by a haze of tryptophan-induced sleepiness. Also deliciousness. I may have eaten approximately half of a pecan pie over the past three days. Jealous?

I guess if I had to put this break into one word it would be reunions. There are so many people that I have met over the years that I don’t get to see often, and when those few precious opportunities arise, it’s so lovely to catch up and ease right back into old routines and inside jokes. Stories from high school or a summer job still resonate and make us laugh so hard we almost cry, and the same songs that made me dance my butt off at… prom still get the same reaction when played in the right company.

Now that I’ve taken a nice distracted break from the aforementioned pile of work, it can no longer be ignored. Two weeks of classes, one week of finals. 5+ papers, three exams, WRBC Trivia Night, a WRBC concert (the Hood Internet and The Knocks)… better dive right in!

THANKSGIVING BREAK AH

Okay, here it is. 2 AM Friday, the day Bates lets out for Thanksgiving break. Why am I awake you may ask? Well, my answer lies in a very clever man who died roughly 400 years ago: Shakespeare. I have a 10 page, evil, daunting Shakespeare paper due at 5pm– the Friday before break! It’s the last task I have to complete after what seems like a whirlwind couple of weeks. But of course, this paper isn’t the only thing I’ve had going on this week. So, I just now finished it. (don’t worry, mom, I will be editing it more tomorrow when my eyes are fresh!)

But can you blame me? There’s been so many great things going on this week! Like Harvest Dinner, where Commons is transformed into an autumnal banquet hall and students line up at 4 pm for gourmet thanksgiving-style meals. There’s a band, raffles, gelato, CHEESE PLATES!!! Everything you could want in life. And then just when your stomach literally is paralyzing you by how full it is, it’s time to walk next door to the grey cage, for dessert and the annual Trashion show, where students design and model fashions made from recycled material for awesome prizes. So there’s one excuse.

After Harvest Dinner, I caught the last Language Arts Live of the semester: Ander Monson. He writes all sorts of things: poetry, fiction, non-fiction. He read two poems and then an essay for us, and I really loved the way he read his work– at first I thought he had a slight southern drawl, until he told us he was from Michigan. He moved to the essay with the intention of “lightening things up.” The essay, called “Well That’s the One Thing We Got,” was written about a youtube video of a college a cappella group singing “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something. If you’ve read a few of my posts before, you might remember that I love a cappella. Almost to an unhealthy degree. So as he projected the video in question on a screen, and played the clip intermittently as he read, I got the shivers like I often do when I listen to good cheesy music. (Let’s make this more embarrassing with full disclosure: I call them my “glee chills” as a tribute to how often they occur while watching GLEE) He said the video was a 2007 performance of a group from UMass. Being from the fair state of Massachusetts, probably one tenth of the kids I went to high school go there. Including some of my friends. Including some of my friends who sing a cappella. Including one of my friends who sings a cappella in the group that was, at this moment, being projected on a small screen in Chase Hall to a room of 30 or so people laughing at the spectacle. So the moral of this story was that later I asked my friend if he knew that this story had been written, published, about this video of his group– if anyone in the group knew. They didn’t. There’s something almost voyeuristic that this story existed without them realizing. Inspired by merely a video on youtube, not even an extraordinary video,  watched over 200 times by this wonderfully quirky professor at University of Arizona… Weird.

While I tried to buckle down, again Thursday I was bombarded with all sorts of fun and interesting things to do!

During lunch, we sold our new WRBC t-shirts and tank tops for the first time. While we were worried how they would be received, we SOLD OUT by the end of dinner tonight. I was selling at lunch with my friend Ali and we were in awe of how much money was rolling in (which made us very happy– we had to front the money for the tshirts ourselves). I called our treasurer after lunch ended and said “Hey, i have $340 what should I do with it?” “$340?? From what? Why?? Huh??” “From tabling. It went really well.” “GREAT SUCCESS!!!” Or something along those lines…

The final little highlight of thursday evening was the 9:45 Harry Potter themed a cappella concert that packed Chase Lounge with people– some dressed in HP attire, as they were headed straight to the midnight movie afterwards. The Merimanders and the Deansmen performed, and looked the part, the Deansman wearing “dress robes” (their traditional tuxedos with CAPES!) and the Meris dressed like hogwarts students, complete with wands. They sang the theme of HP together, than each sang a few tunes. The Meris went above and beyond by changing the words of their songs to be Harry-appropriate.

Sadly, after that, it was paper time. It still is sort of paper time…

Fall One Acts– From the eye of a producer

This weekend the Robinson Players put on our annual fall one acts. Usually, this consists of a few ten to fifteen minute plays directed by those with experience and those just trying it out, featuring actors of the same spectrum. For the past two years, I’ve been in the fall one acts, but this year, I was so busy with Fuddy Meers earlier in the semester that jumping into another show seemed like too much. But that makes it more fun for me, to be honest. Because, as a board member for the Rob players, I get to show up during tech week, make notes, preview the shows, see the moments the public doesn’t get to see, without the nerves and responsibility of performing all weekend.

This year, there was an overwhelming number of plays proposed by mostly new directors. Not wanting to discourage this sudden and exciting onset of interest in the Rob Players, we agreed to put on 5 plays. This is more than usual. Especially considering that we were in the smaller Black Box theater, due to scheduling conflicts. Lots of actors, props, furniture, and tech cues made it all a very… zany experience. My friend (and director of every show ever, including Fuddy Meers) Michelle ran all the tech for this, she’s a superhero. Not to mention we both had an exam in the middle of it all that merited quite a lot of freaking out… But it all turned out so well! The constraints of seating lead to super full houses for the actors to perform for, always a good sign. I had to listen from the booth because there wasn’t room for me to watch in the theater on opening night!!

The plays performed were:

“Chocolate” by Frederick Stroppel

“Mental Reservation” by Roger Cornish

“Death Knocks” by Woody Allen

“Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Where Babies Come From” by Christopher Durang

“Different” by Lisa Soland

Hopefully all the new, younger students that got involved in this project will continue with theater and especially with Rob players! We always love new people because they come with their own unique set of ideas. We need their support, considering all the exciting things coming up including the Vagina Monologues, a spring Musical, and a short term children’s show! Whew!

Hotel Universe

Last night I saw the theater department’s fall mainstage show: Hotel Universe. As with all mainstage shows, the direction, acting, design and production value was very impressive. At Bates, we have two mainstage theaters and one black box, but this show was put on in the smaller of the two: Gannet theater. Working with a smaller space invites creativity in staging the show; what Hotel Universe did was really play with the space and made something very interesting to look at.

My friend Schuyler was totally the star. And by star I mean amazing female lead. The show was also two seniors’ thesis show for their acting thesis. Serious business. The cast was small, only 9 students. The makeup of that group was very odd, as  well… it was half freshmen and half seniors– nothing in between. Even so, all cast members filled their role very well; the freshmen did not appear shy or less experienced than their older counterparts.

The show was a bit of a psychological drama- as it unfolded, things became more and more eerie and complicated, but ultimately were resolved. The actors had the difficult job of playing a part that stays in the same setting, but transcends that time and place at some points.

It’s funny because  I’d been hearing about this show from the very beginning of school– every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning when I go to the gym with Schuyler she would share a day to day concern or status check on her lines or a scene she was worried about…And yet, now i realize that she must have been censoring herself for the sake of my own discovery of the play when I actually saw it. There was so much more to Hotel Universe than I had thought– I’m still actually digesting it.

There are still two more performances, log on to Batestickets.com if  you happen to be in the area and want to see some great theater!