It’s funny how a musical about the past really makes us not analyze life in the 1900’s, but also pushes me to think about the present and future in many unexpected ways. This musical pushed me to dance, sing, and act in ways that I didn’t expect, and didn’t know that I could. I’ll be honest, I was definitely one of those spectators who enjoyed the songs in musicals but didn’t at all feel that they were necessary. Before this experience, I did not fully grasp the extent to which the addition of music could augment a play. However, after seeing the reaction of our audience members to the mirth of “Getting Ready Rag” or the mourning in “Till We Reach That Day” I am a believer in the power of music to convey emotions at a new level. I am so glad that I was able to be a part of this project and not a day goes by where a song doesn’t get stuck in my head or I don’t relive a moment from the show.
As I previously mentioned, one of the fascinating aspects of this show was how it encouraged me to not only contemplate the past, but the present and future. In terms of the present-day, the themes of this show: the struggle of feminism or the problems racism, are unfortunately as pertinent now as they were in 1908. As the recent murder of Trayvon Martin shows, we clearly have dangerously ingrained issues with race and stereotypes in this day and age. Also the political and social upheaval over the recent birth control legislation shows, women still aren’t thought of as capable of making decisions and often times have to fight for the independence to do so. This musical somehow manages to capture the main struggles of the past that are constantly reenacted through time. It also manages to make me think of the future, but on a smaller scale. I wonder how future productions and collaborations between departments will have been affected by this successful production. I know that among the actors, we are now more apt to participate in productions with either Hoof n’ Horn or the Theater Studies Department. I also hope that this momentum from the student body’s interest in the Arts continues and we in the future feel more support from our peers.
All in all, this process was hard, challenging, and inspiring. Looking back, I feel so lucky to have been selected to participate in this production. I spent probably around 100 hours in the costume shop on this project both during the week and on weekends and I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this show from multiple angles. I’ve learned so much about performance and storytelling and wish to work with the directorial staff or some of my fellow castmates in the future!