The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Category: Arts & Leisure (Page 1 of 3)

What Can I Do with an English Major?

Even at liberal arts colleges, a common source of contention is the utility of an English Major in light of a future career. There is an element of fear associated with the pursuit of the major, especially if one does not aim to be a tenured professor. However, the good news is the culture of liberal arts colleges is spreading fast and creating opportunity for majors in the humanities.

English majors are constantly asked whether we want to teach literature or become a bestselling author. Often times, both are true. But when teaching or a novelist career isn’t among our ambitions, how portable is the major?

The list of potential careers ranges from writing to business, and everything in between. For domestic students, securing internships in varied fields is an easy task–career exploration suffices as reason enough to pursue any position. For international students, Bates requires official proof that an internship is directly related to the student’s major field. In my view, almost any career field, be it expressive or analytical, is directly related to the English major. Proving this on paper, though, is not as simple.

Marketing is popular among students from most academic disciplines and English is no exception. But, can I enter a marketing job or internship with an English degree? Most likely, yes. Yet, international students would hesitate to agree with that view more than domestic students. Expressing intangible reasons as a tangible argument is key for your average English major, but describing how understanding the psychology of consumerism is related to understanding Shakespeare’s plot lines is not as direct a link as may be necessary.

Education and counselling are also common fields among English majors. What if one prefers administration or social work to teaching? Is it possible to justify how a class on Irish poetry is directly related to working closely with departments that manage student life? How do English classes qualify one to study to be a licensed counsellor? I believe a class on poetry can be related to nearly anything in the professional or social field.

It is this mindset that makes the English major suitable for almost any career. The only problem is that most of the reasons that make English truly versatile are intangible. They often relate to abstract concepts of empathy and curiosity, both of which are not skills that are easily transferable on paper as Microsoft or computer programming. However, these same abstract reasons can be easily justifiable if the listed major is Psychology.

What baffles me is that if students from two separate academic disciplines can express the same reasons for pursuing a particular career and often times develop the required skill sets for that career, then why should the hurdles for one be higher than for the other? I can be an English major and be equally skilled in data analysis as a student studying STEM, yet my justification for wanting to work at a technology firm has a greater chance of being denied.

As quoted by the Bates website, the goal of a Liberal Arts education is “to educate the whole person.” Every class is geared to develop critical thinking, creativity, and curiosity. The goals of the Bates curriculum mean that regardless of one’s choice of major, students leave college sufficiently equipped with the skills needed to pursue a career that overlaps among disciplines. Why, then, must I justify how or why a particular major is portable in a specific field? Each academic major, including English is good enough for whichever career one chooses to pursue.

 

Skin Care Routine of the Week: A Skin Care Routine for Wannabe Beauty Gurus

The hours I spent as a teeanger (so, up until last year) indulging myself in the world of YouTube “beauty gurus” is what inspired my love and, I’ll admit, small obsession for skincare. All those years ago, I would say my routine out loud as I put each product on my face before bed each night to pay homage to my YouTube beauty idols. I thought Zoella would be proud.

Although my love for watching videos like, “What I got for Christmas 2010- LOTS OF BATH AND BODY WORKS!!” and “Everyday Natural Makeup Look for Eighth Grade: Show Your Crush What They are Missing” has dwindled ever so slightly, these videos fostered my obsession with skincare products.

Skincare, dare I say it, is my vice. I believe my obsession will ultimately cause me to declare bankruptcy or my future partner to inevitably leave me. However, my affinity does signify that I am fully qualified to give skincare advice and let you know what I am loving at the moment. My fourteen year old self would be so proud. Mama, I’ve made it!

The way I prepare for my skincare routine is the way most people would prepare for coitus. First, I light my Walmart candle, in the scent Fresh Balsam. I then dim the lights After my room feels cozy and slightly risque, I may begin.

The first product I use is Neutrogena Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer (with SPF 15) from Target all over my face. I especially focus on my neck because, according to our lord, Zoella, it is important to always moisturize your neck to avoid premature aging. This moisturizer is my go-to because, as someone who has combination skin, the thin formula moisturizes without leaving my skin feeling greasy.

Next, I use my Garnier SkinActive Soothing Facial Mist with Rose Water. Say that in a French accent to make it sound bougier than it actually is, because it’s from Target. I hold the mist about 5 inches away from my face and douse myself with 3 or 4 hearty sprays. Full disclosure, I am not sure how beneficial this product really is. But, it smells really good and the act of spraying rose water all over my face makes me feel more important than I really am. I would imagine this product is how Beyonce got her good looks and talent.

After the unnecessarily bougie face mist, I bust out the Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel. I like this product because it is cooling to bring down the puffiness under my eyes and wake me up in the morning. I have had the same bottle of the gel for about a year and a half and I still have a lot left, so it is definitely worth the $13.29 I paid at Target. Although, I could very well be rubbing expired gel all over my eyes… that explains the pink eye!

Finally, because my lips tend to get fairly dry, I end the routine with the bougiest installment yet: the Agave Lip Mask in Clear from Bite Beauty. I love this stuff because it is incredibly moisturizing but does not leave your lips feeling sticky. Bite Beauty is the store in which you can create your own custom lipsticks. Fun fact: I bought the lip mask on a visit to Bite, which was my birthday present when I was a senior in high school. The same bottle has lasted me up until now, so I would say it is worth the pricey $26 it retails for. That being said, I am not one to endorse expensive makeup or skincare products because I truly believe that you can find products that work just as well at any drugstore. So, I am trying to find a cheaper dupe for this lip product to endorse. I’ll report back, dear reader.

Voila! Thus concludes my completed skincare routine. I will be the first to admit that I value my routine more than I should, but having a consistent, daily routine that I actually enjoy doing and makes me feel put together. It’s almost therapeutic for me.

I’ll leave you with this: never stop (lip)masking your problems with skincare!

 

McQueen’s “Widows” Cinematically Showcases Excruciation

From full-frontal male nudity to unabridged torture scenes, director Steve McQueen has always had a penchant for shocking his audiences. His greatest skill consists of lingering, or even zooming in, on those excruciating moments from which other directors would be inclined to quickly pan away. However, it takes two to tango: such moments require actors proficient enough to handle the stress of McQueen’s persistent lens. “Widows,” his first directorial effort since 2013’s “12 Years a Slave,” which won an Oscar for Best Picture, has many such moments and many such actors.

For example, take one of the film’s shots: following a fatal car crash, a driver sits squashed against the steering wheel as if against a pillow, his eyes bulging and the horn indefinitely whining into the night. Most other directors would skip forward to the plot-specific ramifications of such a crash, but for McQueen, doing so would mean missing out on an unforgettable moment.

Viola Davis, who plays one of the widows, has already received a good deal of Oscar buzz for her starring role and it’s easy to see why; the sheer number of lengthy close-ups she suffers through over the course of the film would cause many other great actors to keel under pressure.

It all reminds me of a critique a New Yorker writer leveled against McQueen some years ago: “[He] assumes that showing scenes in which unpleasant things happen is enough to make a quasi-tragic drama.” Isn’t it, though? If any director can convince me that a good film doesn’t need any substance beyond the aesthetic delivery of unpleasant moments, it’s McQueen.

Perhaps more than any of McQueen’s previous features, “Widows” has a plot to back up its shock value. Or rather, multiple plots. Truth be told, “Widows” really is two films masquerading as one. Taking center stage is the heist thriller, wherein three widows must perform a high-profile robbery planned but never effectuated by their late husbands. In my opinion, the aforementioned is the better of the two plots because the leading ladies are engaging and the thesis is clear: in a world dominated by corrupt and misogynistic men, an independent woman has no alternative but to claw her way to the top if she wants to be successful. Nobody can be trusted and mercy is a hindrance.

The second of the two plots tracks the political race for an alderman seat and is a dismal affair. It relishes its task of peeling back the layers of American politics to reveal each one to be more stygian than the last. To the watcher’s dismay, there are no widows here and no feminine energy to offset the film’s onslaught of cutthroat men. The resulting hopelessness conjures up more comparisons to 1940s film noir than to modern day thrillers. There are no good guys here—only guys, all of whom are bad.

The eponymous protagonists are “Widows’” only wellsprings of hope and such a feminist message is certainly worthy of applause. In the film’s dark and all too realistic world, a man’s hand on a woman’s shoulder is less a caress than a power play, an unfriendly reminder of who’s in charge. The most telling exchange of the entire film comes when one of the widows is out on a date at a nice restaurant with a very wealthy man. Stupefied by his expectation that she’ll repay him for the dinner with sexual favors, she asks, “Is everything a transaction to you?” His response—”That’s the way the world works”—cuts to the core.

To be successful in today’s capitalist society, one must be as avaricious, libidinous, and guarded as the men who rule it. A cynical message to say the least, but there’s a silver lining; perhaps today’s capitalist society isn’t as inexorable as we sometimes make it out to be. Change is possible, and as “Widows” reminds us, it starts with putting more women in power.

 

Hayes Searches for the Unexpected

“The Set of Circumstances” is in partial fulfillment of Hayes’ dance thesis.

Hayes, who performed her thesis, “The Set of Circumstances,” this past month.

Hayes and fellow dancers in “The Set of Circumstances” rehearse.

As we chatted outside the lobby of Schaeffer theatre, senior and dance major Johanna Hayes greeted fellow dancers as they rushed to and from rehearsal. She reflected on choreographing her thesis, which was “a huge experiment.”

“If it was successful or not, I’m not really sure yet,” she confessed.

Hayes’ senior dance thesis, “Words into Action: An investigation of dance practice as tool to implement social theory” is partially fulfilled by “The Set of Circumstances,” which was performed Nov. 14 and 15 in Gannett Theatre. The performance featured Sydney Anderson ’20, Helen Carr ’21, Esme Goldfinger ’21, Flannery Black-Ingersoll ’19, Rebecca Howard ’19, Elizabeth Wellington ’20, and Hayes herself. In her program note, Hayes introduced her work as a piece that “is about and also that is.” When we spoke, she described that the “main driving force” of her thesis was a technique Hayes learned in Spain this past summer from performer and dance-maker Laura Aris.

Hayes is a recipient of the Phillips Fellowship, a program centered around offering Bates students unique opportunities and experiences in global learning. Throughout her Phillips Fellowship experience, Hayes traveled across Europe to attend and dance with four different programs in Germany, Spain, and Austria. Reminiscing on her summer, she explained that the experience taught her that “there’s so much going on in the dance world…Dance is seen as a vehicle for so many different things.”

It was in Spain that Hayes encountered Aris’ “mechanics plus situation” movement structure. Hayes described the concept as a two-step process: “you define a physical mechanic and then you add a situation to it.” A particular mechanic in dance might be pouring one’s weight onto a fellow dancer; a corresponding situation might be that the two dancers interacting have a caring and loving relationship. Or, the corresponding situation might be a relationship defined by discomfort, or even malice. The richness of the structure is seeing how different situations affect the initial mechanic. Prior to performing her thesis, Hayes and the cast illustrated the structure for audience members.

In choreographing “The Set of Circumstances,” Hayes was interested in exploring physical risk and emotion in “real time.” “How can we create situations that happen onstage that aren’t choreographed?” The choreographer further explained that she strives to incorporate tasks that one can “fail at” to discover the subsequent consequences of real time risk through movement exploration.

Hayes explained that her experimental and unfettered choreographic structure is a departure from some of the pieces she created as a teenager. “Music is a motivating force for a lot of young dancers.” Now, the dance-maker said that when choreographing, she delves into questions regarding the power of the body and, in relation to Aris’ technique, the motivation of movement.

Hayes’ work and experimentation absolutely paid off: “The Set of Circumstances” was effortlessly dynamic. The connection among the seven dancers felt authentic; they moved in sync amidst seemingly unplanned physical and audible interruptions. Hayes’ desired themes were quite clear, her choreography as manifested by the cast explored the relationship between community and the individual and challenged audience members to evaluate collective experience.

Hayes’ presence within the group also added to the piece’s truthfulness. “The Set of Circumstances” was much more than a performance; it was a milestone in Hayes’ dance career. “There’s no way I could isolate myself from my whole life of dancing. Everywhere I’ve been has lead up to this moment; every little bit of training is in my body somehow.”

When I asked Hayes about the storyline or message she hopes to send through the work, she explained “there’s a narrative there, but it’s unspoken.”

“Dance is a lot like a song,” she continued. The meaning is ever-changing, but regardless of its dynamism, “it makes you feel.”

 

A Merrill-Focused Running Playlist

Running is one of my favorite forms of exercise to do at Bates. When I’m stressed or have a lot on my mind, I go running; when I am happy and want a boost of extra endorphins, I go running; when I might have over-caffeinated at Commons, I go running. And, being the geographically challenged girl that I am, I prefer running on the treadmill rather than through local Lewiston streets. Either way, I put on my sneakers on and shuffle my favorite running playlist on Spotify.

Quite frankly, finding the perfect song that matches my mood is more of a challenge than motivating myself to run. Maybe I am feeling peppy and empowered by my choice to run (because, of course, my body is a temple): I want my running music to reflect that. Maybe I am feeling tired, lethargic, and angsty as a result of stress and I want my music to motivate and fuel my post-teenage-still-prevailing angst (we have all been there).

I get many of my music from suggestions from friends or, if I am feeling super driven, stalking other people’s Spotify playlists. Hope to see you all on the tredmills in Merrill!

“Survivor” by Destiny’s Child – A tried and true favorite. After listening to this song, I too feel better now that the fictitious boy in the song has left my life. I don’t need him! I am a survivor, I can work harder, and you best believe I can! Pro tip: I recommend this song for interval training… or when you are feeling low and just need a good motivation song.

“Thank You, Next” by Arianna Grande – For me, this falls into the same category as “Survivor”: the song is about being better off without a previous lover. I would personally like to thank Pete Davidson for not being good enough for Ms. Grande just so she could write this song. A little slower than “Survivor,” this is a great addition to any long distance running playlist.

“Loving is Easy” by Rex Orange County – This is the perfect song for a run outside on a sunny, spring day in balmy, 65 degree weather. And, even if the weather is amiss, this song is an upbeat and lovely song that is bound to cheer you up and keep you riding that post-workout endorphin high for the rest of the day. Some other songs by Rex that are bound to make your day, on and off the elliptical, are “Best Friend” and “Sunflower.”

“Biking” by Frank Ocean, JAY Z, Tyler the Creator – I am a huge fan of the collaboration between these three articles. The track is a great addition to any long-distance running playlist because it has a great beat. Plus, because biking is a form of exercise, you can totally imagine that you’re working out alongside Frank Ocean as he sings that he’s “biking uphill and it’s burning [his] quads.” Who needs workout partners when you have Frank Ocean singing to you in your ear?

“Colors” by Halsey – Halsey creates the epitome of angsty, love-life-gone-awry music that is my favorite for running. As stated, being ensconced in a fictitious world where a lover has wronged me allows me to leave my everyday reality and run really fast! The fast beat of this song adds to the overall emotionally driven experience Halsey brings to your workout.

“Africa” by Toto – Who doesn’t know and love this song? If you aren’t belting out those lyrics about blessing the rains down in Africa, do you even have a pulse? I read that when working out, the best way to relax the most muscles at once is to smile, and this song definitely makes me smile. And hey, maybe while you’re working out and this song somes on, you can think of me belting out the lyrics whilst running on the treadmill next to Professor Loring Danforth; I promise you’ll smile too.

 

 

 

 

Skin Care Routine of the Week: For the Skin Care Rookie

Although I now indulge in an abundance of face masks per week, adhering to a regimented (or, even planned) skin care routine is still relatively new for me. For the last seven years, I’ve mainly used the same two products on my skin: CeraVe hydrating facial cleanser and CeraVe facial moisturizing lotion. Both were recommended to me by my dermatologist and are fabulous, affordable drugstore products. I’ve since swapped out the lotion for a rotating cycle of multiple products, but the cleanser, which I will lovingly refer to as Old Faithful, is still with me.

It was a slow burn to change my routine. My sophomore year at Bates, I added in an eye cream. My junior year, I began toning daily and masking frequently. After I returned home for the summer, my skin care routine became no-holds-barred: I had unlimited access (and browsing time) in all of the Sephora’s and department stores in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. My skin care routine quickly became a multifaceted outlet for my self-care.

After a joyous and fortuitous trial and error period, I’ve narrowed it down to a small sum of products that work for me. Nowadays, I still get the skin care rodeo started with Old Faithful. After lathering the cleanser into my skin, I splash it off lightly with water. I no longer use a washcloth to scrub off any sort of face wash because I’ve learned doing so is too harsh for my skin. From there, each successive step is seasonally dependent.

In the summer months, I tone or exfoliate my face using Pixi products. The Pixi Glow Tonic toner (available at Target) sloughs away dead skin and, in my experience, leaves a natural-looking glow. I also highly recommend Pixi’s Glow Peel Pads: they’re an efficient and low maintenance way to chemically exfoliate your skin and, like Pixi’s toner, they encourage my glow. Next, I use Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Multivitamin Booster, followed by their Hydro Boost Water Gel with SPF 15 (both available at drugstores).

When I’m feeling particularly existential with regard to the life expectancy of my skin, I wear Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection WetForce SPF 50+, carried by Sephora, Ulta, and most department stores. I encourage both myself and anyone reading this to wear sunscreen each and every day. Doing so is paramount to you and your skin’s longevity.

I finish off the whole summer-skin-care-shebang with Ole Henrikson’s Banana Bright Eye Créme, which I picked up at Sephora this past summer. It’s definitely on the pricey side, but I personally feel it’s worth the investment. I see an immediate difference in the skin underneath my eyes; it moisturizes and combats the dark circles that have inevitably signed a lifelong lease above my cheeks.

In the winter, I use Old Faithful and put my Pixi products away for safekeeping. Because I find toning and over-exfoliating dries out my skin, I avoid doing so when my skin begins to be ambushed by Maine temperatures and dryness. After cleansing, I usually douse my face with Bio Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil. This product is also available at drugstores and is, as advertised, multiuse. I use it on my face as a moisturizer and all over the rest of my body, particularly for stretch marks and scars. I do so because I love the skin I’m in, and those marks deserve some love, too.

If I’m extra dry, I use Neutrogena’s Hydroboost Hydrating Overnight Gel Mask. It works wonders by morning, but it’s very goopy. Only for this mask will I utilize the removal powers of a washcloth. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I use Clarin’s Double Serum and their Multi-Active Day Cream with SPF 20. Both are incredibly moisturizing and quite luxurious. Because I received the set as a gift, I apply them sparingly. I highly recommend both, but acknowledge that they are out of most people’s (and my own) price range.

My skin care routine is a way for me to focus on myself each and every day. Regardless of what my day has in store for me, I take time to pamper myself before doing anything else. And no matter what has transpired, I’m able to wash away my day, physically and metaphorically, before going to bed. Amidst all the cleansing, moisturizing, and dark-circle-combatting, I’m able to slow down, breathe, and relax.

 

Planned Parenthood Gen Action’s GOTV Initiative

Given their active presence on campus, you wouldn’t know that the Bates College Planned Parenthood Generation Action club was only started a few months ago. From the beginning of the semester until now, current club leaders Nina Moscowitz (2020), Analea Angot (2020), and Diana Flores (2020) have worked to integrate this nationwide college campus movement into the Bates community. Though the burgeoning reproductive rights club has many ideas for the future of Bates students’ reproductive health, safety, and well-being, they have been focusing their current energy on the election and Get Out The Vote.

As members have been actively working to better the Bates community, the club stands out as a wonderful and impactful alliance on campus. Planned Parenthood Gen Action members have been working to motivate and transport students to the polls, and convened on Thursday afternoon to phone bank to alert Bates students about their efforts to organize and provide rides to and from the polls. In addition, the club has been tabling to educate the campus community about candidates and has canvassed on weekends in and around Lewiston.

Last Thursday, Planned Parenthood Gen Action members phone banked, for which they met at the Ronj and enjoyed the rainy evening by calling and texting classmates, close-friends, and peers to urge them to vote. During the phone bank, club members also informed students of the multiple options to get to and from the polls. As a member of the club, I can attest to the heartwarming atmosphere of the initiative. Spending the afternoon working to get students to vote was invigorating. Also, as a student without a car myself, I can see how transportation could be a hindrance to voting, especially when factors such as school, work, and extracurriculars are also in the mix. Sitting in the Purple Room at the Ronj, eating Halloween candy, and talking to fellow members of the Bates community on the phone and over text to aid them in finding time amidst their busy class schedules to vote was such an inspiring experience.

Voting is so important, especially in today’s political climate: it is a chance to not just voice your opinions, but make your voice count. Every vote counts, and every voice counts. Exercising your right to vote is an amazing experience that should not be cast aside or belittled, even when getting to the polls might seem like a drag. Planned Parenthood Generation Action is making voting for Bates students easy. I encourage everyone to get down to the polls to vote and volunteer with Planned Parenthood Generation Action to help others do so as well!

The group has volunteers driving people to the polls on Election Day every hour and met at the Fireplace Lounge in Commons. For more information on getting involved with the club contact me, Pippin Evarts, at pevarts@bates.edu.

 

Boygenius’ Self-Titled Debut Flourishes

When I heard that Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus were making an album together, my initial reaction was one of skepticism. Despite the fact that they are all brilliant artists in their own right, I was curious as to how well they would all work as a group.

Although each member finds their origins in indie rock, their styles could not be more different. Lucy Dacus is deeply rooted in alternative garage rock, while Phoebe Bridgers made her name with a sharp and succinct combination of folk rock and indie pop. Julien Baker’s solo material is an intense blend of traditional emo and solo indie rock. That said, I was a little apprehensive as to how they would blend together and wondered if one of them would take the stylistic lead on the record.

Boygenius, the group’s titular debut EP, is a beautiful blend of the three styles each artist brings to the table and features some of the most tight-knit harmonies and straight-forward songwriting I’ve heard all year. The record perfectly combines the best parts of each performer’s respective musical style. Despite the large range of styles explored on such a short release, the group still manages to sound cohesive. The record opens with “Bite the Hand,” a gorgeous song full of sticky hooks and guitar leads which features the group’s brilliant three-part harmonies.

“Me & My Dog,” the second track on the record, primarily features Phoebe Bridgers and leans heavily in the folk rock direction. Featuring plucked mandolin on top of more straightforward guitar chords, the song beautifully blends indie rock with folk. “Me & My Dog” has some of the most heart-wrenching lyrics on the whole record, a true accomplishment on an EP this overwhelmingly forlorn: “I wanna be emaciated/ I wanna hear one song without thinking of you / I wish I was on a spaceship/ just me and my dog and an impossible view.”

The album seamlessly blends honest, emo-adjacent lyrics with folk songwriting. Boygenius might be more of a folk-rock record than anything else. However, that genre label and its associations don’t prevent Boygenius from the dynamic and noisy indie rock that is reminiscent of Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker’s former band, The Star Killers.

The penultimate track, “Salt in the Wound,” begins with a slow build that sounds like a Julien Baker solo release. However, the song builds into a beautiful, almost Dinosaur Jr-esque chorus: a gorgeous guitar solo weaves in and around a pervasive wall of vocals and distortion. The drums and guitars are dynamic and driving, and the vocals from all three members are powerful. Both give the track a very distinct forward momentum.

The final song, “Ketchum, ID,” is a slow, vocal-driven ballad. Somehow, the song manages to sound full despite the sparse instrumentation. It is a catharsis on the loneliness one can feel even when surrounded by other people. “Ketchum, ID” features the most beautiful and tightly knit harmonies on the entire release, complete with beautiful lyrics surrounding heartbreak and isolation. The song ends the record with a full and complete emotional release from all three musicians on the project.

Boygenius doesn’t reinvent the wheel on their debut EP, but they do manage to create one of the most full-bodied and honest releases of 2018. The dynamic instrumentation, range of genres explored, and well executed performances devise one of the most compelling releases yet.

 

Directing Success in One Acts Festival

Prior to last weekend’s One Acts Festival, I had only directed once before. It had been a good experience and I was interested in trying again. Upon arriving at Bates this fall, I joined the Robinson Players and learned about the One Acts Festival. Directing seemed like a good way to introduce myself to the group, and would serve as a reference for full-length productions I hoped to direct in the future.

I directed a play called Hysterical by Steve Yockey. In it, a lonely woman named Elizabeth (Julie Jesurum, ‘22) turns to a bottle of Jägermeister to deal with her break up. She winds up getting romantic advice from the logo’s iconic White Stag (Maria Gray, ‘22). The show is a funny yet poignant piece about break-ups and moving on.

Walking into auditions was terrifying. Because I normally audition for shows, I understand that it is nerve-wracking to audition for people who might not know me or what I can do. Even though I was on the other side, I was already comparing myself to the other directors. My friend Johnny Esposito ‘22 and I were the only first-year directors this year and I was convinced that I was out of place and unworthy at first. However, one of the reasons I came to Bates is because of its supportive student body. After a few minutes, I felt comfortable and like I deserved to be there. I was ready to be a part of what I knew was going to be a great show.

After two days of auditions and the battle for our casts, all the directors and I got to work. I was excited to be working with my cast of fellow first-years and ready to see what we would create in just three weeks. Luckily, my high school directing, acting, and stage managing experiences prepared me well for my first dive into college theater. I arrived and left rehearsals feeling confident in our story and how it took shape.

In our first rehearsal, we did “table work:” we all read the script together, and talked about the play as a whole. We then focused on blocking, or staging movement. In the days leading up to fall break, we continued to chip away at the scene to pull out the important storytelling moments.

While we each had our own ideas, we brought them together to create what the audience saw this past weekend.

Gray ‘22 had acted in high school, but Jesurum ‘22 had not. Similarly, our stage manager, Michelle Kim ‘22, had not held the role before. The rehearsal process was a learning experience for all of us and we worked together to produce something we loved.

Anyone who has participated in theater has their own horror stories from tech week, the week of the show in which all the tech elements of the production are brought in for the first time. These tech elements usually include lights, sound, props, set, and costumes. In our case, we began practicing in the performance space for the first time.

Without fail, “tech” is a week in which you spend more hours than you would like sweating in uncomfortable clothing while all your other commitments seem to quadruple. Fortunately, the directors worked alongside Robinson Players board members to develop a schedule leading to a pretty painless tech week.

In tech rehearsals, directors are hands-off compared to previous rehearsals. The show is basically turned over to the actors and stage managers, who become responsible for carrying out all the light and sound cues during the run.

My presence in the show wasn’t completely absent, though. I gave notes after tech rehearsals and warmed up with the actors before each show. I saw the show, which consisted of eight one-act-plays, three times. Never once did I feel the unworthy or out-of-place feelings I had experienced in the early minutes of auditions. All eight directors, nine stage managers, and seventeen cast members combined to create a great show that I’m honored to have been a part of.

A College Student’s Guide to Westwood, Los Angeles

Home to the UCLA Bruins, Westwood, Los Angeles, is a buzzy SoCal area located in between Santa Monica and West Hollywood. When visiting friends at UCLA or even USC, you’ll be spending time dining in the area’s restaurants, visiting its museums, shopping, and experiencing the nightlife in perpetually buoyant Westwood. Thanks to the five sun-and-smoothie-bowl-filled days I spent visiting friends in this upscale college town over fall break, here’s a guide to the top hits of Westwood.

Food

After carefully watching and analyzing many a “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” episode, I knew that cold-press juices and salad bowls were going to be a key component to my culinary endeavors in Los Angeles. Westwood far exceeded my expectations and introduced me to In-N-Out (which made me reconsider the need for all those salads and grain bowls in the first place).

For lunch or dinner, stop by Emporium Thai. The restaurant is a Westwood institution home to fresh, flavorful, and unique Thai dishes. Try the lime, mango, and coconut “Akon” salad, a favorite its namesake: the “Smack That” singer himself.

Make sure to keep an eye out for celebs at Il Pastaio, a bougie Italian restaurant perfect for a trendy dinner with friends. Given Il Pastaio’s reputation for casual celebrity sightings, I was extremely aware of my surroundings throughout a delicious meal of rigatoni bolognese. While dining, I successfully identified a man who was *not* Bradley Cooper, but did look very much like him.

After dinner, swing by Saffron & Rose, a Persian ice cream shop famous for their uniquely delicious flavors. Beloved choices include white rose or guava. Or, if you’re feeling more traditional, check our Diddy Reise, a UCLA favorite known for their incredible (and super affordable) ice cream sandwiches.

Culture & Nightlife

Westwood’s downtown hosts a number of different stores satisfying basically every need. The variety of shopping attractions is so extraordinary that I wondered why anyone would ever leave Westwood: a massive costume store prepares the area’s students for year-round theme parties and an amazing LF outlet has every weird trendy item you never knew you needed.

To play in the big leagues, head on over to Westfield Century City Mall, which is less like a mall and more like a cool outdoor club that also has stores. Walk through the beautiful miniature gardens and lounge areas while shopping for everything from face masks to artisanal gelato. And, if you’re not into shopping, go for the incredible restaurants!

Another must-visit is The Hammer, a UCLA-acquired art museum founded by oil tycoon and philanthropist Armond Hammer. Fun fact: the museum’s owner is great-grandfather to actor Armie Hammer! Currently on exhibit is an amazing retrospective of contemporary artist Adrian Piper, featuring over 270 works of photography, drawing, video, performance, and sculpture. Luckily, the museum itself is super close to campus and perfect for sparking some intellectual conversation.

Finally, when you’re ready to let loose, Barney’s Beanery, Rocco’s, and Sepi’s are ideal for cheap drinks and dancing for the 21+ crowd. Afterward, do as the Bruins do and end your night at In and Out (even though you’ll be dreaming of the far-superior fries from Shake Shack here on the east coast).

 

 

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