Saturday, March 28, 2009

Being at BADA

As today was a particularly slow day— though it did hail— I thought I’d dedicate this post to a comparison of what it’s like being at a theater conservatory, acting 24/7 versus being at Mac. “Being at BADA”-isms, if you will. I’ll probably revisit this, but for now, here goes:

1) Don’t be late. No joke. Back home, I used to fall prey to the “Macalester Gray Area:” show up in the first five minutes of class and your good to go. (Not every teacher follows this, to be sure. Hell- if you’re Marlon, that means you’re early!) But at BADA, if you’re on time, you’re late.

2) Focus. There’s a lot more of it happening here. Back home, there was always a to-do list in The Notebook. Write a paper, go to work, read these by next class. Here, it’s more straightforward: show up, have your lines memorized. That isn’t to say it’s easy, there’s a lot that goes into each class, but somehow it doesn’t seem as all over the place.

3) Sharing means caring. Food, clothes, gossip, it all seems to get passed around. (Which helps so much when people get sick…) And as for emotional drama, well there are only 31 of us. Between Hig-land and Mac, I’m used to it being a small world, but here it’s even more so. I know who fought with their boyfriend, who just had sex with their boyfriend, who’s on their period, who’s missed it, who got drunk last night, and who burned dinner last night.

4) Personal Space: to put it bluntly, I’ve seen everyone here in their underwear. Changing at your locker is a usual occurrence, though not everyone does it. It does get tricky if David, Noel, Angeline, or I try changing at the same time, though. At Mac, the most physical contact I get is in the lunchroom at rush hour, waiting for tatter tots or curly fries. Here, you’re jumping on people’s backs, rolling around on the floor with them, smacking butts, kissing, or getting kicked by them. My only regret is I’ve missed most of the backrub swapping.
5) At Mac, there’s this thing where we’re all different, but we’re all the same. By which I mean we all have different lives, but we’re all students. BADA makes you very aware of your physical persona. Like, I know that I am the shortest in the program, have the fifth darkest eyes in my play (and interestingly enough I’m the darkest eyed of the white kids– the four in front of me are all African American). I’m aware of how I walk, that I jiggle my knees a lot, and have crappy posture sitting in a chair.

6) Copying is encouraged. Okay, not really, but in the past two months I have copied how classmates walked, talked, even breathed. It’s actually really interesting, and very insightful into both of your personalities.

7) Memorization and rehearsal. At Mac, it’s pretty obvious when you’ve walked in on a study group or a ‘study group”. At BADA, you’re never quite sure. Empty rooms are always in high demand, and people switch from conversation to recitation of lines at the drop of a hat.

So that’s a good beginning. I’ll add more as I discover them. Is there anything you’re curious about?

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