Student Spotlight: First Year Reflection

First Year Reflection

Maddie Petroskey '20 performing in Studio 115's 2016 First Year Showcase.

Maddie Petroskey ’20 performing in Studio 115’s 2016 First Year Showcase.

Every year brings new talent and new faces, and this year, UMW Theatre welcomed a particularly active and eager group of first year students to our department! The nature of their involvement covered a variety of areas, including performing in productions, being a part of stage management, and working as technicians. Here is some advice for getting involved within the theatre department from our first year students.

T&D: What experiences have you had in the UMW Theatre department thus far?

Carly Bishop: I have worked in Klein twice for Theatre practicum. I was the 1st Assistant Stage Manager for both Assistance and Macbeth. Also, I was on the Studio 115 committee this semester.

Erick Boscana: I am Theatre and History major. This semester I was part of Macbeth, playing the part of Donalbain/Menteith. Last semester I worked in the shop helping to build the sets for Assistance and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I was part of the First-Year Showcase in Studio 115 and I’ve attended many other shows in Studio 115, all of which I have loved.

Jess Elkins: I am a Theatre major. I have performed in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, as Miss Christine Lyon in Klein Theatre. I have acted in Stop Kiss, as Sarah and was the light board operator for The Last Flapper in Studio 115. Also, I have worked as a practicum assistant in the UMW Theatre management office.

To hear from Victoria Fortune, click here for a video.

To hear from Victoria Fortune, click here for a video.

Victoria Fortune: I am a Theatre major. I have worked as a member of the construction crew for Assistance and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a member of the wardrobe crew for The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and have performed in Macbeth as Lady Macduff/Gentlewoman. Also, I was hired as a box office assistant during the spring semester, and I have participated in various Studio 115 shows. Finally, I will be joining the Studio 115 committee next year.

Mollie Green: I was involved in the First Year Showcase last semester, and I am currently Jessica Knapp 17’s practicum student, training in House Management. I have also participated as an actor in some scenes for the Directing class.

Meagan Morrison: I am a Theatre major. I was the Production Assistant for Assistance in the fall and a production assistant for Steel Magnolias this spring. I was the Stage Manager for No Exit and a staged reading of Stop Kiss in Studio 115.

Maddie Petroskey: I am a Theatre major. I was Caithness in Macbeth on Klein, and I was Estelle in No Exit, Bec in 4000 Miles, and acted the First Year Showcase, all in Studio 115. I am on the Studio 115 Committee, and worked as a practicum assistant in the UMW Theatre management office this spring.

Ivan Quiroga: I have participated in 24-Hour Play Festival and First Year Showcase in Studio 115. Also, I played Ross in Macbeth, which was my first Klein show!

Clay Spence: I have participated in two Klein productions this year through theatre practicum. First, as a follow spot operator in last fall’s production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and this spring’s production of Macbeth as part of run crew. I have done lighting design for a couple of Studio 115 productions, such as the First Year Showcase and the first semester 24-Hour Play Festival.

Grace Weaver: I am a Theatre major. I have taken practicum both semesters this year. First semester, I was the Production Assistant for The Mystery of Edwin Drood. After Drood, I was the sound engineer for the First Year Showcase. Second semester I was the 2nd Assistant Stage Manager for Steel Magnolias. After Steel I was the Stage Manager for The Last Flapper in Studio 115. Also, for the second semester I became one of the Special Projects Assistants in the management office.

Teresa Wright: I was 2nd Assistant Stage Manager for Klein Theatre’s production of Macbeth, as well as the Production Assistant for Assistance this past fall.

T&D: What surprised you the most about UMW Theatre?

Erick Boscana '20 performing in Studio 115's 2016 First Year Showcase.

Erick Boscana ’20 performing in Studio 115’s 2016 First Year Showcase.

Carly Bishop: I knew during the tour of the theatre department that they said we would have loads of opportunities, because UMW was a smaller school. They really meant it. I got to work on a show each semester, and it was amazing.

Erick Boscana: I was most surprised by how open everything was to first year students, and how kind and accepting everyone was. I did not come here expecting an elitist theatre program, but I did not expect there to be so many different opportunities available.

Jess Elkins: I was most surprised about the community. I have made so many friends since I first started here.

Victoria Fortune: I was most surprised about how talented everyone was and how versatile they were with their skills, but also how many opportunities are presented to students – especially first years! The department really gives you everything you need to get involved right away.

Mollie Green: I was most surprised by how much of a family the theatre department is here. Leaving my high school theatre family was really difficult for me, and for some reason I had this idea that college theatre wouldn’t be the same. I am happy to say that I was wrong! Everyone is incredibly accepting in the UMW theatre department, and I immediately felt right at home.

Meagan Morrison: I was most surprised about how easy it is to get involved in UMW Theatre. As a freshman, I was able to work on two stage management teams for Klein shows, and stage manage two Studio 115 shows. It has given me a lot of opportunities, and I didn’t have to go crazy to just be noticed in the first place.

Maddie Petroskey: I was most surprised about how great the department is. When I first arrived at UMW, I expected to work on shows occasionally as a hobby while pursuing a different major. After this past year, though, this department has inspired me and motivated me to pursue a career in theatre arts. I have full confidence that I will be more than prepared to step into the non-educational theatre world after graduation.

Ivan Quiroga: I was surprised by so many things. The theatre department here is such a step up compared to how it was in high school, in regards to how much was put into the technical aspects, how professional this theatre is, and how it prepares you for the real world. It’s mind blowing.

Clay Spence: Coming out of a high school experience of theatre, I expected the UMW Theatre department to be pretty exclusive and hard to move around and grow in. However, this was absolutely not the case whatsoever. It wasn’t even just that the people were friendly and welcoming, but also that they want you to experience theatre and grow together alongside with them, rather than ‘every man for themselves’ for positions and opportunities.

Grace Weaver: I was most surprised about how welcoming and friendly everyone was here at UMW Theatre. It was great to see that no matter who we are, where we came from, or how much prior theatre experience we had, we seemed like we were a part of this community and family from the day we started.

Teresa Wright: I was surprised about how friendly everyone was. I know one of the things everyone says is that UMW is very friendly and everyone’s very nice.

T&D: How do you think you have grown due to your involvement? & What are some of your goals in order to continue to grow in UMW Theatre?

Carly Bishop: I have learned so much from the Theatre department. Everything done in Klein is handled like a professional theatre and I have learned so much about how tech works in the professional world. I have started to become confident in my own work and I look forward to becoming even more confident in myself. My goal for the future is to continue to grow in my knowledge of how technical documents are created and used in all the aspects of theatre.

Erick Boscana: I have grown as an actor, through taking classes in the department as well as working on a show. I have experienced so many different facets of what makes a show happen and I am excited to learn more. There are so many opportunities and auditions that it is easy to work on what you need help with and get aid from more experienced actors. My goal is to hone my acting skills further so that I can be like the great actors I so adore.

Savannah Lunger ’20 and Jessica Elkins ’20 were first year students who starred in 2016’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Jess Elkins: I have definitely felt more comfortable with myself as a performer, and my confidence on stage has grown immensely. I hope to continue to get cast and take classes, and to take as many opportunities as I can to participate in what I love.

Victoria Fortune: I definitely believe I have grown as an actor through my acting class first semester and through working with Helen on Macbeth and in Voice & Body. Also, I have grown in taking initiative and in how to manage my time. I have become very busy over the course of my freshman year, and it’s only going to get busier from here, so I have tried to take notes from my friends who are upperclassmen.

Mollie Green: I have grown in so many ways due to my involvement in UMW Theatre. I have gotten a glimpse of what the professional world of theatre is like, and I have become much more confident in my abilities as an actor. Next semester, I plan to continue auditioning for more shows and become even more involved in the department by taking advantage of every opportunity presented to me.

Meagan Morrison: I have grown tremendously since school started this year. In high school I stage managed a show, but here it’s very different. I have learned so much and have more confidence in myself. I am less scared to try to get better at what I do. Eventually, I would like to stage manage a Klein show. I am going to continue learning and growing and getting better.

Maddie Petroskey: I have grown a lot as an actor here at UMW. I have learned that most people have their own idea of what makes an actor good, and finding a balance between using what you are taught and listening to your instincts is a great way to improve. I hope to gain more courage in making choices while I am here, both in acting and in life.

Ivan Quiroga: I have grown the largest through making connections with the people in this department. I still haven’t met everyone, but I hope to do so! In the future, I hope that I can take theatre classes that can help make my ability and performance stronger.

Clay Spence: I definitely think that I have grown, not only in technical skills, but I have learned how to work with people more genuinely in a realistic theatre setting. I have strengthened my communication and group work skills as well. In real life, you’re not always going to personally know the people you’re working with in the shop or who’s sitting next to you in the booth for a production, but you have to work with them regardless. Some of my goals are to expand my horizons within the theatre and try out different positions outside of my immediate capabilities, such as stage management or sound, so I can offer more to the department as well as continue to grow.

Grace Weaver: I have grown in my technical aspects such as sound, lighting, set, and costumes, by taking Technical Production with Niffer Pflager. Especially during my lab hours, I have been able to become more confident in my construction and set building skills. I also have become more confident through stage management, from the documents that are created to just being able to have professional conversations with anybody involved in the production. In the upcoming years, I hope to continue to learn stage management by being on teams for Klein, I hope to continue to learn the many aspects of technical theatre by being involved in Studio 115, and I hope to learn more about how a professional theatre is run by applying for jobs within UMW Theatre.

Teresa Wright: My time management skills have become better and I have been able to learn from my mistakes, most of which shall never be spoken of again. Some of my goals in order to continue to grow are to work with more people and to gain a broader experience in the theatre world.

T&D: What is one of your favorite memories or experiences related to UMW Theatre?

Carly Bishop: My favorite memory was during Assistance. They were in tech week and a paper trough got added to dump paper all over the set at the end of the show. It was super cool until run crew realized that they had to clean it all up after. Everyone was complaining, and so I just started saying “I love paper!”, because why not. Whenever they had to clean it up and to this day everyone gets so irritated when I say that. But, it just became a running joke for that show, and I think it helped get through all that paper.

Erick Boscana: My favorite memory of the department is preparing for the first show of the First Year Showcase. It was the first time all of the first years and their directors had come together, and we were all trying to figure out what we were doing and how the show was actually going to run. It was a really great time and we all became like a family that night.

Jess Elkins: My favorite experience was The Mystery of Edwin Drood and the bond I made with my fellow cast.

Victoria Fortune: I can’t pick just one favorite memory. I can’t even pick a general experience that’s been my favorite. I have loved them all and I have grown closer to everyone because of these experiences.

Mollie Green: My favorite memory is auditioning for the First Year Showcase. It was one of my very first experiences in the theatre department here on campus, and I wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything! Not only was the audition process super exciting, but also that was a huge opportunity for me to put myself out there and make myself known in the department. Getting to know everyone was an awesome experience, and I learned so much from my student director, Megan Khaziran ‘17. We had a ton of fun, too!

Meagan Morrison: My favorite memory so far would be Carly Bishop ‘20 yelling “I love paper!” every time the paper dropped during Assistance. I got really close with Carly Bishop and Teresa Wright ’20 working on that show, and that’s how we all really met.

Maddie Petroskey: My favorite memory of the past year was my experience co-directing Miscast in Studio 115 back in February. I trusted my gut and gave direction as best I could, and the show turned out really great: the performers were incredible and they had the audience laughing until they cried. I had this beautiful little moment of realization: “wow, we created this.”

Ivan Quiroga ’20 performing in Studio 115’s 2016 First Year Showcase.

Ivan Quiroga: My favorite experience here has been curtain call for Macbeth. It’s just a really satisfying experience to be proud of the work you’ve done and to perform it in front of people, be it twenty people or a few hundred.

Clay Spence: My favorite memory was Studio 115’s 24-Hour Play Festival. I was a freshman among a bunch of upperclassman that already knew each other while I could barely remember names, but even so, I was able to take on the responsibility of lighting designer and had the support of the people around me. I only had a vague idea of what I was doing, but everybody was extremely patient. Especially the head of Studio 115, Angel Cowen ‘18, who pushed me to take initiative in my personal choices as a designer while also making sure I was making “good” decisions based on a technical aspect. The play festival was really beneficial not only in terms of experience, but I also left with friends. I’m really glad to have been a part of it.

Grace Weaver: My favorite experience is definitely being on the stage management team for The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The team was so welcoming to me, even though I was the only freshman on the team, and they were extremely patient with me as I learned how to be a part of a stage management team in a professional environment. Also, the entire cast and crew was phenomenal to work with, and I am excited to see what other productions this amazingly talented department will do in the future.

Teresa Wright: My favorite memory would have been from Assistance. Post-show, all of the

run crew, stage management team, and house management would have to clean up all of the paper that was dropped onstage and in the house during the final scene. That was probably my favorite part of the entire show, even though it was incredibly tedious and time consuming because there was a lot of silliness flying around. A lot of what happened was probably really stupid and wouldn’t be funny to anyone who wasn’t there, but it was sort of like hanging out, except it involved a lot more paper.

T&D: What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming students about getting involved with UMW Theatre?

Carly Bishop: My one piece of advice is to just go for it. There is always something to do, between Klein and Studio 115. Everyone is super nice and there is no need to be nervous.

Erick Boscana: My one piece of advice is to audition for as many things as possible. Even if you aren’t cast, you’ve lost nothing and gained experience. Shows, either in Studio or Klein, are an amazing way to meet different people from all over the department. These aren’t people you will only see once; you might end up in a show with them later or they might be in a class with you. It’s always nice to know people in the department. Definitely don’t be afraid to talk your professors, because everyone in the department is really kind and willing to talk.

Jess Elkins: My one piece of advice is to just go for it and audition for everything!

Victoria Fortune: I would tell incoming students to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you! Audition for Klein productions and audition for Studio 115 productions. Take Theatre Practicum. Volunteer for any available position, even if it’s something you hadn’t done before. Go to any event you are invited to. Also, the faculty and upperclassmen want to get to know you and will remember your names, so don’t be afraid to make friends!

Mollie Green: I would tell incoming students to take advantage of everything! Audition for everything. Get involved in every way possible. Don’t be afraid to just jump right into the department. We are an incredibly welcoming group of students and the department loves to see new faces! There are so many awesome opportunities to get involved that it’ll be easy to just slide right in. Above all else, be yourself! We definitely get down to business when it comes to theatre, but we have a ton of fun in the process.

Our first year students have been welcomed to the department and look forward to continuing their studies here at UMW Theatre!

Our first year students have been welcomed to the department and look forward to continuing their studies here at UMW Theatre!

Meagan Morrison: I would tell incoming students to not be afraid. Don’t be scared to aim for what you want because you just might get it. Work hard and you can reach your goals.

Maddie Petroskey: I would tell incoming students to get involved! The sooner you start working on shows in Studio 115 or on Klein, the sooner you’ll make friends, have things to look forward to, and create great memories for your college experience. I really think that 90% of the reason I had such a great freshman year was because I put myself out there the first week of classes and got involved with the 24-Hour Play Festival. After that, I learned about other Studio 115 shows to audition for, and getting all of that experience has not only given me exposure in the department, but it also gave me a wonderful experience as an actor – not to mention the fact that I was able to meet people that I consider some of my closest friends.

Ivan Quiroga: I would tell incoming students to not be so down if you don’t get cast in a show your first semester. There are a few other ways to get involved with the department, and it’s great to make the connections with people in the department.

Clay Spence: My one piece of advice I’d give to incoming students is don’t be intimidated or hesitant to put yourself out there. Even if you’re interested in technical theatre, being outgoing isn’t just for actors. It can be scary, but it’s really rewarding, and you’ll see that you’re enjoying and growing more than if you wait for opportunities to drop in your lap.

Grace Weaver: I would tell incoming students to take theatre practicum their first semester here! Honestly, if it weren’t for getting involved right away with The Mystery of Edwin Drood, I wouldn’t think I would have had the same opportunities and experiences I had this year. It is important that if you are interested at all in UMW Theatre that you get your name out there, so that the faculty and students know who you are. The faculty and students are extremely welcoming and excited for incoming students to get involved with UMW Theatre!

Teresa Wright: I would tell incoming students, to be aware of how much free time you have. Theatre in general is kind of all-consuming, and time management is a huge factor in how you can commit to a show or even just helping to build the set.

Thank you to all our UMW Theatre first-years for a great season. We look forward to welcoming the class of 2021 this fall!