Harvey

These past few weeks have been super busy for me. I acted in the Drama Club’s production of Harvey and spent a lot of time in the theatre preparing for the performances this past weekend.

The rehearsal process.

The rehearsal process.

A family portrait.

A family portrait.

Getting make up to look as old as Elwood.

Getting make up to look as old as Elwood.

Harvey is a play about a man named Elwood P. Dowd, whose best friend is an invisible rabbit. I had the pleasure of playing the character of Eldwood. It was a lot of fun playing such a loveable character. Elwood is a genuinely nice person throughout the show and really cares for everyone.

I also designed sound for the show. Basically, I gathered up the required sound effects, such as a phones ringing and buzzers buzzing. I found music to play during scene transitions as well. It was interesting to look up music from the 1940s when the play takes place.

Three M's. Maggie, Meaghan, and Mckenzie.

Three M’s. Maggie, Meaghan, and Mckenzie.

Although the process was a lot of work I already miss the show. This was my last full acting performance at St. Mike’s and the theatre has been a central part of my life for all four years here. I am thankful that my mom and aunt were able to see the performance and hope I was able to help people enjoy this quirky show. Thanks  you to everyone who came out and saw it!

 

Dining with Harvey.

Dining with Harvey.

This is Elwood P. Dowd speaking.

 

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Making a Documentary- Senior Sem

In previous posts I’ve mentioned that I am currently working on my senior seminar project for my Media Studies and Digital Arts major. I only went as far as to say that I will talk about it later. Well, the time has arrived.

Volunteering in West Virginia in 10th grade. I;m on the right.

Volunteering in West Virginia in 10th grade. I;m on the right.

Media majors have 3 options for their final projects. We can either write a book, make a multimedia website, or create a documentary. Film has always been my favorite medium, so I knew that I wanted to go on the documentary route. Last semester, after weeks of brainstorming and research, I teamed up with fellow media student Anna and decided to create a film on the topic of volunteer tourism or ‘voluntourism’.

I went with the St. Mike's MOVE Program to New Orleans my sophomore year.

I went with the St. Mike’s MOVE Program to New Orleans my sophomore year.

Volunteering and service trips have been a part of my life since I was twelve years old. I loved the idea of traveling to new places and meeting a variety of people. I met some of my closest friends and was taught so many life lessons while on these trips. Every trip left me wanting more of these experiences.

Upon returning home from these volunteering adventures, I always wondered about the status of those we worked with and met. Were they doing ok? Were their lives positively effected in the long run? While some people were easier to stay in contact with than others, it was hard to tell just what effect I had on them and their community.

With this documentary we hope to explore the motivations behind voluntourism and compare its benefits with its drawbacks.

So far Anna and I have been busy e-mailing everyone related to volunteer tourism in hopes of interviewing them. We have already traveled to a number of locations to get on-screen interviews and collect B-roll. We also created a website for our project.

You can check out our website here.

You can check out our website here.

There is about a month and a half left to complete the documentary. Man that is scary to say. I can’t wait to see the finished project and complete the final step toward graduation.

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Perfect Skiing at Smugg’s

FullSizeRenderI love skiing. I love the thrill of going down a difficult trail or just cruising nice and easy to the bottom. It’s safe to say that a big draw for me to go to school in Vermont was its proximity to the mountains. I grew up less than an hour from a couple of ski resorts and I knew I wanted to keep skiing in college. St. Mike’s definitely grabbed my attention when I learned about their deal with Smuggler’s Notch. Through the Wilderness Program at SMC, any student can get a season pass to Smugg’s for $65. I’ll say it again because it’s still hard for me to believe: a season pass for $65. That’s cheaper than one day of skiing at most mountains.

IMG_0194 (1)For all four winters at St. Mike’s I have purchased the season pass and have been skiing at Smugg’s ever since. The mountain is less than an hour from campus and a bus shuttles students there on the weekends. The resort is a good size and has trails for riders of all experience level.

This past weekend we received a lot of snow and the conditions were excellent. It was not icy and even when I fell, I landed in fresh soft powder. The temperature was warm and it was even snowing! I brought my camera along with me to document the day. Now I don’t have a GoPro so I was not able to film a lot of me skiing down the mountain, but here is what I have to show!

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How Do You Like Them Apples?

I never thought I’d take a class where I could spend the first few weeks talking about my favorite film. Funny enough, during my last semester at St. Mike’s I have been able to do just that. For the record, one of my favorite films is Good Will Hunting and the class I am taking is Public Presentations.

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The title of the course explains the general idea behind the class. We are learning how to  improve our presentations skills. I am not the loudest or most outgoing person, despite the fact that I am an actor, and so I thought that this would be an interesting topic to work on. The skills I learn will be beneficial not only for end of the year presentations but while I am interviewing for jobs or pitching an idea.

stevejobsProf. Cathy Hurst teaches the class but we are also guided by Steve Jobs. Yes you heard that right, we have been studying the ways of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. He was a master at giving presentations and getting people excited for the new Apple products. We are learning to bring that excitement into our own speeches.

Our first assignment was to give a 90 second presentation on a topic of our choice that we are passionate about. For whatever reason I felt inspired to talk about my love for Good Will Hunting and went on to describe it’s amazingly cheesy fight scene and just how real the characters were. It seemed as if the class enjoyed it and on top of that, I got an A!

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vine

 

 

 

 

 

Coming up we have to expand our presentation time and spend 5 minutes trying to sell a company or product to the class. I think I will be using the techniques I learned to pitch the wildly popular smart phone app called Vine. I mean, who doesn’t love the mixture of ridiculous comedy and crazy special effects videos on that app?

Hopefully by the end of the class I will have reached a Steve Jobs level of public speaking. While that’s unlikely, I can already see improvements that I hope to build on.

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A Room Full of Theatre Students

DJ and Evyn were nominated for the Maltby's based on their performance in Godspell.

DJ and Evyn were nominated for the Maltby’s based on their performance in Godspell.

The title says it all. Last week I attended the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (long title I know) in Hyannis, MA. The festival is a week long event where theatre students from New England and New York come together to put on plays, go to workshops, and compete in competitions.

This year, I had friends from St. Mike’s competing in an acting competition called the Irene Ryan’s, in a stage management competition, and in a musical competition called the Maltby’s. They all did an incredible job and I’m not gonna lie, Evyn Whiteley singing Kindergarten Boyfriend from Heathers: The Musical made me tear up.

astep_white_logoI was able to attend a lot of amazing workshops while at the festival. One that was really fun was a Stage Combat workshop. We learned how to make pulling hair, punching, and pushing someone look realistic without actually hurting them. I was also introduced to the organization ASTEP, or Artists Striving to End Poverty. Through the organization, volunteers use the arts to help underserved youth in the U.S. and abroad. This is definitely something I would be interested in doing in the future. You can check ASTEP out HERE.

Click here to see the page.

One of the more beneficial workshops for me was on Arts Management and using social media to promote theatre. As the head of this sort of thing for the Drama Club at St. Mike’s, I got some good advice on how to improve our presence online. Since then, I have created a Facebook page for the Drama Club. Feel free to like the page to keep up to date on any shows or programs the club is putting on.

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I began promoting for the show Harvey on the Facebook page.

Yes there are cars under there.

Yes, there are cars under there.

Overall the festival was a lot of fun. What made things interesting was the SNOWPOCALYPSE happened the first day of the festival, delaying everything by a day. As a result, the whole schedule was compacted and we were very busy. Despite this we all still had a great time and I wish I wasn’t graduating so that I could go again. If you find yourself attending St. Mike’s and joining the Drama Club, I definitely recommend going to KCACTF!

 

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Higher Ground

highergroundOne thing on my bucket list from my last post was to go to Higher Ground more often. Higher Ground is a concert venue in South Burlington. I love going to concerts there because the space is large enough to house an exciting crowd but small enough to interact with the performers. The past two semesters I did not go to Higher Ground once that is just unacceptable. This winter break I was determined to change that and so when I was in the area, I made sure to go. I saw the band Four Year Strong, an old favorite of mine. They absolutely killed it and rekindled my love for them. This was the first concert I attended alone and I would totally do it again.

Four Year Strong

Four Year Strong

One funny thing about Four Year Strong is that I made one of my first friends at St. Mike’s because of our interest in their music. I saw him wearing their shirt and decided to talk to him about the band. From there, we got a radio show at WWPV and called it Bad News Beards, a tribute to the fact that the band members all have beards.

The poster for our radio show.

The poster for our radio show.

The concert a few weeks ago was not my first at Higher Ground. I had previously seen a few local bands, along with The Wombats and Macklemore there. That’s right, Macklemore. Before his music could be heard 24/7 on the radio, he played in good ole South Burlington. Not to sound too much like a hipster but, the people here at St. Mike’s were listening to Can’t Hold Us before it was cool.

Friends and I at the Macklemore concert.

Friends and I at the Macklemore concert.

Higher Ground is definitely worth going to if you are in the Burlington area. You can check out their upcoming gigs here:

http://www.highergroundmusic.com/calendar/

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Three Scary Words: Second Semester Senior

The moment has arrived. A moment that I never imagined would actually be here. I have entered the second semester of my senior year. My last semester at St. Mike’s.

dogbed

How I feel.

The easy thing to do would be to crawl up into a ball and avoid all of the anxiety and stress I am feeling but let’s be honest, that would be no fun and I would get nothing done. Instead I have to decided to face this semester head own with a game plan to make these last four months count.

johnsnow

First, I am taking classes that I am interested in and will prepare me for the real world (whatever that is). I’m in a class called Public Presentations which, as the title suggests, will help me improve my presentation skills. This will be beneficial as I try and market myself and interview for jobs. Another class I am taking is Digital Animation. I have learned basic animation skills from various MJD classes but I am interested to polish them up and learn new techniques. I am also in a class to complete my senior seminar project, but that will be a whole different blog.

My favorite class of the semester is Playwriting. As much as I prefer to work with a camera in hand or on an editing software, all creative projects require a great written plan and story. This class is already helping me develop better writing skills. We recently had the fun assignment of writing a scene about a holiday dinner. I took inspiration from my large and loud family and the Thanksgiving where I threw up while giving the prayer before we ate.

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Besides taking awesome classes, I also plan to enjoy the Burlington area with my friends more than I ever have before. In order to do this, my friend Boates and I have made a bucket list of things to do.

Here it is:

First day of the season.

First day of the season.

  • Go to Montreal
  • See a Higher Ground concert
  • Ski
  • Get a Shopping Bag Burger
  • Go to Tilt
  • Ice climb
  • Go to 6 local breweries
  • SKI
  • Act in a play together
  • Order all of the Wings Over flavors
  • Walk on Lake Champlain
  • Go cliff jumping
  • Take a family portrait
  • Create The Boates Games
  • Make a short film

I’ll be updating everyone on this list throughout the semester!

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Final Days of the Semester

 

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Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

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The trees were layered in snow.

So the past few days have been quite eventful. Nonstop snow has hit the campus and it has been glorious. While I did not get any of my classes cancelled it has been lovely to walk around and see snow covered trees and people making snowmen outside of their townhouses.  I actually woke up in the middle of the night to hear screaming outside my house. While I was initially a little annoyed, I couldn’t help but smile when I saw my roommates and friends playing in the snow.

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A scene from Gendermat: a story about relationships.

 

 

On Wednesday there was a Christmas dinner in the Alliot dining hall. It was so nice to have the St. Mike’s faculty and staff serve a ham dinner to us and say Merry Christmas. Along with classics such as potatoes and cider, I also tried eggnog for the first time. My verdict: it tastes a lot like cake and I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

 

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A glimpse at my scene from Borrowed Parts. I get to eat lots of pretzels.

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My tie selection for Gendermat. I needed to borrow from my roommate.

In between staring at the snow and trying to stay warm, I have also been preparing for my final performances of the semester. I am acting in two One Act plays as a part of the Drama Club and I am directing a scene for my Directing Class. I am directing a scene from the play The Diviners by Jim Leonard, Jr. This is my first time directing anything and it has been a lot of fun helping my actors grow and develop the scene over time.  For more information about the One Acts check out Sarah Hoover’s blog.

 

 

I finished my final exam of the semester and now all that stands between me and Christmas are a couple of projects. If you are from New England I hope you are enjoying the snow. If not, I hope you can visit Vermont soon to see how great it is around winter time.

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Surviving Finals (as told by The Breakfast Club)

Simple Minds- Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Thanksgiving is over and only a few weeks separate college students from winter break. While three weeks may seem like nothing compared to the months of classes already completed, the last days of classes and finals are one of the busiest times of the semester.

You may go a little stir crazy…

…and you might feel like running away from it all.

You may even want to quit altogether.

BUT, you can survive this crazy time of year as long as you have a plan.

My biggest suggestion is to find your perfect study location. I like to study in a semi-quiet area where there is some background noise.  The main floor of the library and the Dion Student Center are great examples of this type of atmosphere. I typically stick to doing homework in my room but during finals, I find it best to relocate so that I can focus better. If you are looking for a quieter study space, the bottom floor of the library or the academic buildings are great places to go.

My next suggestion is to SLEEP…

… and EAT. (probably not like Allison)

I’ll admit to doing a few all-nighters in my time as a student, but what I have found is that my work suffers as a result. It is much better to start things early and to plan out your schedule to include sleep, than to try and cram in a couple hours a night. As for food, thankfully your unlimited swipes into the Alliot Dining Hall are there to help you fuel up. If you are a senior like me with limited swipes, I suggest saving swipes for the end of the semester. I do not have much time to cook meals in my townhouse so I am glad I can go to Alliot for dinner.

Finally, take time to unwind.

Although your schedule will likely be packed with studying, final projects, and exams, it is important to relax a little. Again if you plan out a schedule ahead of time, you can leave room for a movie or dinner with friends. I like to leave some time to watch the Patriots on Sundays or to watch t.v. shows on Netflix. Whatever you enjoy, it is important to relax and not let stress build up.

So remember, you CAN conquer finals week!

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Finding Percepolis: Fun St. Mike’s Traditions

Every school has its weird traditions and St. Mike’s is not exempt from this. A recent tradition started last year within the St. Mike’s Drama Club. Two graduation seniors, Kit and Alan, decided to hide an old prop inside the McCarthy Arts Center. The prop is basically an odd looking pheasant that they named Percepolis (pronunciation is questionable). The challenge is for Drama Club members to try and find Percepolis, take a picture with it, and then hide it in a new location for more people to find. It has been a while since the last pair found the pheasant so Boates and I decided to head to McCarthy and search!

Percepolis is only one of the many fun traditions that exist at St. Mike’s. Ask any club, major, or friend group and you are bound to find a unique game they play. If you find yourself involved with theatre or the Drama Club at SMC, be sure to keep and eye out for the fabled pheasant!

Our victory photo!

Our victory photo!

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