Role Call—You can’t always get what you want…
Nice clothing. Character shoes. Deep breaths. Auditions on day one of Rep Term had energies buzzing, stage lights glaring, and all of us wondering, What will we be doing these next three months…?
Before we found out our parts, we were each given numbers to better facilitate roll call. I wanted number eleven, but being a Castro placed me at three. Thirty-six of us count off, yelling our numbers instead of our names to accelerate the ritual of attendance—and I couldn’t help but think that this is the only time in my Knox career that I will ever be “a number.” We weren’t going to remain numbers though, our roles were given out the next day. I was very much on the fence about acting because I wanted to do educational outreach. I wanted to pioneer an outreach program at Knox, but the idea of character development dueled with my educational plans. The challenge of discovering a character drew me in but I didn’t know which role would win out until I saw the cast list.
Then I saw Harper next to my name. The lead female role. It scared me and motivated me, but I didn’t know how to accept it. I’ve never done a mainstage show…I’ve never really acted at Knox aside from two roles with more lenient commitments. But Harper requires a lot. A part of me wanted this challenge though, because it really would present an entirely new experience for me. I kind of knew I needed it, but wasn’t sure I could handle it. I think many people felt that way with their roles, as actors and crew-heads, people were assigned the unexpected (for the most part). And, for the most part, I’ve seen people embrace the surprise of Rep Term and allow new character come from their roles. Many of us did not get what we wanted, but I’m confident that time will show we got what we needed.
In You Begins the Virus of Time (That’s a line from the play)
After one week in, it feels like a month—but it feels that way in the best way possible. So much happens educationally, relationally, and personally during Rep Term here at Knox. We stepped into Harbach January 4th and while sitting on the mustard carpet-cushioned chairs, we were told two reasonable truths, “Good morning everybody, you are now property of Rep Term, this is your priority. But also, your bodies are your responsibility.” The first week introduced the challenge of time management (i.e. making sure to fit homework, rehearsal, rest, gym time, and three meals into one day), but as we finish our second week, I’ve come to value personal time. We get downtime and we use it to the fullest. I get to miss people on campus and cherish them when I see them. It’s nice to not be able to take people for granted.
The structure of Rep Term requires time. The whole concept is a process—discovering characters, spending time with the company, and surrendering one’s schedule. It puts life into a different perspective because of its rigid frame of time, yet security rests in the expectations of each day. I know I will be working on Rep Term every day, even on my days off, but I enjoy the focus. Instead of being pulled by three different disciplines of a regular schedule at Knox, I can put all my energy into the varied needs of one project. I hesitated at the idea of Rep Term and its intensity, but I continue to grow in gratitude for being a Rep-Term company member.
Oh, and I’m Caroline Castro, a junior here at Knox. I’m a Creative Writing major with a focus in playwriting. I love theatre because it brings people together, it makes them think and laugh and is capable of reminding an audience of life. We get to live longer than any of the characters onstage who breathe for three hours every show night, and we can be just as eternal as a work of fiction. Theatre is a great place to explore feeling and feeling is a great way to live. I’m excited that as a Rep-Termer I get to play all winter and hope that our work inspires those able to attend!