Sunday, March 3, 2013

Memories of College Theater

Saturday night, I went to see a production of the musical Assassins at Fordham University, performed by my old theater group, the Mimes and Mummers. When I say "old," I'm not kidding -- it is the oldest club in Fordham's esteemed history (celebrating its 157th anniversary this upcoming April), and still one of the finest theater arts troupes in existence. Being in Collins Auditorium, where I spent so many days and nights, brought back a lot of wonderful memories.

When I started university life, I thought I would just be able to pick up where I left off in high school, where I had been cast in every single production during my years there. Freshman year of college, while not necessarily a "rude" awakening, nevertheless opened my eyes and made me realize I still had a lot to learn about the craft I loved so much. The Mimes and Mummers gave me that chance. I started off small, serving as a dead body in Arsenic and Old Lace (humbled after having played Mr. Gibbs in high school a few short months prior) and then stage managing a wonderful production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (I fell in love with that play, and had the chance to offer my own interpretation of Billy Bibbitt in another production with the Red Monkey Theater Group years later). I paid my dues with crew, working on two set strikes to become a voting member. Even though I worked backstage in other shows, such as assistant stage managing The Nerd, my fondest memories come from acting on stage.  I played the part of Sandy in The Man Who Came to Dinner and a dual role as Fleance and Young Siward in an action-packed Macbeth (in which I learned to swing a mean broadsword). Senior year was my favorite, as I had the chance to play Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Fred and the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol, and Speed in The Odd Couple.

I still cherish the tiny little trophy they gave us at the final Johnny Awards right before we graduated. Seeing the current Mimes and Mummers up there on stage transports me into their shoes, as all those amazing memories and emotions of yesteryear come flooding back.

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