For some, even the slightest prospect of performing in public causes hidden sweat glands to open up and suddenly dispense themselves in places one would never expect to perspire. Up until the age of fifteen, I was not one of these people. I held various lead roles in elementary school theatre, and performed Christina and Britney songs in multiple talent shows through 8th grade. Over the years I tried it all—dancing, singing, acting—you name it. However, it wasn’t until I hit high school that I realized I had talent in none of the aforementioned categories. This discovery caused my seemingly infinite confidence to plummet towards plain stage-fright—leaving me with no other choice but to take my rightful place in the audience.
But even though I didn’t find my place behind a production, many other students at Brown had. Leandro Zaneti ’12 became involved with theatre at Brown after taking a “freshman-only class called TA3—introduction to acting and directing.” Once he became involved in productions at school, Zaneti’s took on a variety of roles—though they all remained behind-the-scenes, ranging from run-crew to assistant manager to sound designer.
“[Next year] I will be involved with sound design for the Main Stage theatre, so [it’s definitely possible to] move up in rank,” he adds.
Zaneti urges new students not to be afraid to audition, or to become involved in theatre academically.
“The professors are very welcoming and willing to teach.”
In addition to on-campus productions, Zaneti encourages students interested in the arts to look into productions at Trinity Rep or Black Rep theaters, both of which are downtown.
Though I left the stage before college, I certain never left the theatre. As students, our passions and talents are bound to develop and change throughout high school, into college, and beyond. We must constantly find ways to fit the things we love into our lives, despite time commitments and obligations. At Brown, my new place in the audience has been magical; now I have a venue to listen, to absorb and to think. And thanks to the frighteningly impressive level of talent shared among the students that walk this campus, I’ve had a lot to think about.
Whether it’s poetry readings, a capella shows, plays, or dance performances, Brown offers you a place on the stage, behind the scenes, or in the audience—all equally important arenas—to explore your growing ideas, passions and desires. Whether you want to star in a Main Stage production, direct your own show, or simply catch a performance before heading out on a Saturday night, there’s room for all levels of involvement or curiosity. This semester, there are many new opportunities available to students.
“PW [Production Workshop] will be accepting proposals soon and they will be looking for more directors, actors, and tech crews to join,”Zaneti adds.
Additionally, this year the Brown Brokers will be putting on a student-run musical called “Leavittsburgh, Ohio,” a rare opportunity that only happens every other year.
So whether you are a future theatre concentrator, a writer, a listener, a designer, or even just a fan—keep these upcoming opportunities in mind. Take these next few weeks to explore your evolving role in the arts at Brown. I say this to both first-years and upperclassmen. It’s time to re-evaluate and re-explore. Who knows, maybe I’ll even muster up the courage to try my luck at acting again.