I Can’t, I Have Rehearsal

By Janielle Kastner

jkastner@smu.edu

One of my favorite things about Meadows School of the Arts is that it never sleeps – at 10pm when you wander around the basement you’ll see dancers still working on choreography for Brown Bag, the faint sounds of a saxophone jazzing and an aria lilting from the practice rooms, and Theatre majors leaving Main Stage show rehearsals and convening to start rehearsing for SMU Student Theatre productions or directing scenes. Once rehearsals for Main Stage productions end, out come all the art students to create and put together the variety of creative student projects – creating a creative cacophony that I have grown to love. Walking around the Green Room at night – all hallways in Meadows lead to the Green Room – you’ll hear actors discussing topics from the most recent New York Times to the nuances of Harry Potter houses to the difference between shock value, spectacle, and statement in regards to art. This world has become my home, and I’ve calculated the hours and I actually do spend more time in Meadows then in my actual room, including the hours spent sleeping!

There are plenty of Meadows majors, I’m sure, that do not let their Art take over their schedules… I just do not have that ability! If there is an hour free, I want to fill it, and want to make more art happen for more people. Much of my time over the years has been in rehearsal, whether acting, directing, or stage managing, and I consider it one of the best things about Theatre at SMU, as I’ve been exposed to a variety of different kinds of productions, directing styles, and processes. One of the things that makes SMU Theatre so unique is the resources provided by the SMU Student Theatre organization, or “SMUST”. A theatre student can direct their own production, no matter what year they are, using the SMUST producers as resources to get a space, a budget for costumes/set, organize technical elements, and help in any way possible. Regardless of whether you are cast in a Main Stage show each semester or not, you can and will be in rehearsal learning how to make the art you care about. My second semester freshman year I acted in my first SMUST production – and never looked back! I realized that I could do as many SMUST productions as I wanted, and thus began my love affair with rehearsal. My second year I tried to do as many SMUST productions in addition to Main Stage productions as possible, scoffing at those who slept, downing coffee, and spending my lunch hour as Edna from Waiting for Lefty, weekends as a Nurse/Tour Guide in Will Eno’s Middletown, afternoons as Hattie in James McLure’s Laundry and Bourbon, evenings stage managing Lorca’s Yerma, and late evenings plotting revenge against my husband, King Agamemnon, as Clytemnestra in Iphigenia at Aulis for a brand-new Ancient Greek Theatre Festival.

Needless to say, I spread myself a bit too thin that semester. But I learned the hard way (the only way I ever learn anything – from experience!) that if I pick a few projects at a time, I can devote more time and energy into a few rehearsals, as opposed to spreading a little bit of energy in a thousand different places. However, I’m incredibly grateful for the environment in the SMU Theatre Department that made this discovery possible – if I want to do a production, or a solo-performance, or a movement piece, the SMUST team and faculty can and will make it possible!

Now that I’m older and wiser, I’m working on one (just one!) Main Stage show, Moliere’s The Miser, directed by faculty member Jim Crawford. It’s going well, and I’m enjoying focusing on this one production…
But soon I’ll start directing rehearsals of “Oh, the Humanity” for a Directing scene…
and rehearsing David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole for Acting class…
and I’m thinking about directing a SMUST project myself this semester…
Here we go again!

About Courtney Steele

STU UnGrad
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