I don't know if everyone has Timehop now or a similar app, but as a nostalgic mess, I really value seeing where I was one, two, seven years ago. Sure, the occasional embarrassing status from freshman year of high school makes me cringe (why did I feel the need to express my love for Fall Out Boy so frequently?), but for the most part, I've been enjoying the tiny moments of reflection that come from seeing glimpses of the past.
As the new freshmen stream into the dorms and onto the streets of Davis Square, I've been feeling those glimpses of nostalgia as I start my Senior year. Starting Senior year is in a strange way scarier than starting freshman year. I had gone into high school not knowing anyone, I went into Tufts not knowing anyone - those both turned out pretty great. Now, I'm going into this year with my best friends, confident in my major and my extra-curriculars, knowing that I have a year left before I have to leave it all behind.
This fear of starting Senior year was one of the reasons I really wanted to be in the 3Ps O-Show this year. 3Ps (an organization I'll be talking about a lot!) is the student theatre umbrella organization - you can check out our website here. Every orientation week, 3Ps and Torn Ticket II (one of the 3Ps umbrella groups) come back to school a week early to rehearse two shows for the freshman that premier at the end of O-Week. The shows hold auditions before the students leave for the summer, hold rehearsals via Google Hangout and Skype over the summer, then get back a week early and rehearse for a week, usually from 10:00am until 11:pm. In the 3Ps community, the O-Shows are affectionately known as "summer theatre camp."
I've done a lot for 3Ps - I've directed, assistant directed, done costumes, acted, been on the Board twice now - but I've never been involved in one of the O-Shows, and I've always wanted to. When I auditioned and got a part in this year's O-Show, The Few by Samuel Hunter, I was beyond thrilled - and completely terrified.
The Few is about three people in rural Idaho who work on a newspaper for long-haul truckers. One of the characters (Brian) leaves the paper and his girlfriend (QZ, my character) without warning when their friend passes away. The play starts four years later - Brian has come back, again without warning, QZ has been keeping the paper going and she's hired their friend's nephew to help with the paper's production. This role has been one of my more challenging parts - especially considering the fact that we have a week of rehearsal to truly shape a play that is so emotionally complex and meaningful. The whole week has been completely draining physically, emotionally and creatively.
And I've loved every minute of it.
I remember sitting in the audience of the O-Show my freshman year, a beautiful production of Annie Baker's heartbreaking Circle Mirror Transformation, being completely enchanted by the performances of people who I started my year admiring before, slowly but surely, several of them became my very best friends and mentors. I remember walking into my first 3Ps meeting, seeing their faces and thinking, "That'll never be me." And after time, thinking "That could be me." And know I realize, "Wow. That is me."
Now, I'm not saying I'm expecting to be admired/adored by the freshmen who see the show. I mean, the little diva sliver of my soul thinks it'd be awesome, but I'm not expecting it and I don't know if I want it. But if my performance can make one person who is maybe feeling a little lonely, a little scared, feel like the theatre here is a place where they might find acceptance, then I've done my job. And I can go into my Senior year less scared of starting knowing that starting anything is scary, and that's okay! This feeling is probably not going to go away any time soon. But I know who has my back and I know that I'm in a place where I can have someone else's back.
If you're interested in theatre or just want a tight-knit community during your time at Tufts, I really recommend 3Ps. We have our first meeting this Monday, 9/14 at noon in the Balch Arena Theatre. I've been here for three years now, and I guess I'm still realizing I'm not over my first-day jitters. College can be kind of scary sometimes, but it's a lot better when you're in it together.