Like many colleges, Swarthmore offers the opportunity for students to take part in productions that are put on by the Theater Department here. I was honored to take part in the Fall 2018 Production Ensemble, Marie Antoinette, by David Adjmi.
To explain a little more, Production Ensemble is a course here at Swarthmore (THEA022) during the fall semester with the end goal of putting on a play/show in Mid-November. It is a requirement for those pursuing a Theater major, but open to any students who wish to participate in the class. In my opinion, it is probably one of the most time-consuming, grueling Theater courses you can take here because the class is usually Tuesday from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., Thursday from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., and Sunday (yup, you read that correctly) from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
The play, Marie Antoinette, takes a look into the life of Marie Antoinette from seven years after she married the King of France until the day she was executed. I was cast as King Louis, her husband. During the class time, we all met in the Kuharski Studio, underneath the Matchbox building, and just rehearsed the play. The first couple of weeks were all research and table work that explored each of our characters and really delved into what the play really was trying to get at. We didn’t get on our feet until probably the third or fourth week.
The director of the play, Jill Harrison-Snyder, was a wonderful woman who pushed each of the students to really explore their characters in mental and physical ways that would exist in the world of the play. This was my first leading role that really pushed me to think about what it means to be an actor. I was challenged to memorize an entire play and challenged to be someone who I am not. I had to step into a mindset completely different from my own. There were days I could care less about the play and there were days that I was so tired I didn’t even want to come to class. However, I still kept pushing, and I enjoyed myself far more than I regretted taking the class.
Classes here at Swarthmore sometimes push you to limits that you would have never thought you could reach. I never thought I could be one of the leads in a play, and here I was as a lead in a play. These classes allow me to explore new horizons that other institutions may have not given to me, or even taken a chance on me.