Pre-Fall General Auditions

You would think after closing one show you would have the rest of the semester to catch up on work and get yourself together to finish out the end of the semester strong … but if you happen to be a theater major, that may not always be the case! 

Just two days after the closing of TheaterCNU’s production of “Tartuffe,” we were auditioning for fall shows. The reason we do this is so that anyone who gets cast in a part for a fall show can have the summer to get familiar with the show and their lines. Also so that  sophomores can go through checkpoint auditions. Since you don’t have to audition to be a theater major, the faculty likes to make sure everyone is doing what they should and are progressing in their work. While this could add a little extra pressure to sophomores, these checkpoint auditions are usually very helpful. Since I’m currently in my first semester as a senior I didn’t have to take part in sophomore checkpoint, but I did have to audition like everyone else.

As a senior, I do have to start getting myself prepared for my senior auditions and my senior thesis project. While these things can overwhelm you, it’s nice to know that I have the summer to get ready for my last semester here at CNU. It’s hard to believe that I only have one more to go, because it felts like I just arrived. As I wait with the rest of the department to find out the results of the fall general cast lists, I am going to try to tackle projects, journals and papers that are due fairly soon. I’m having trouble processing the fact that this semester is coming to a close so quickly, but I know that this was a great semester and I’m so proud of all the seniors graduating.


My Semester in the Costume Shop

This semester I got to work in the Theater Department’s costume shop. It is run by Professor Kathy Jaremski and is supervised by Sarah Conte. It has been a great experience getting to work in the costume shop and helping make the costumes for this semester’s productions. Having taken the costume design class last semester, I learned a lot that allowed me to actually help make the costumes this semester. As a theater major, we all have to work backstage for a number of productions and I was allowed to work on costume construction – I even got to make a costume piece from start to finish myself.

The department puts on two shows every semester and we usually have one show where we make more of the costumes and one where we buy more of the pieces. The two shows done this semester were the musical “Into the Woods” and a modern adaptation of the play “Tartuffe,” which I was in. For “Into the Woods,” I got to make an apron for the baker’s wife character. In order to make this piece of clothing, I had to first make a pattern for the apron using the actor’s measurements. I used the instructions for making a body block to construct this pattern. (A body block is a basic design that you add your design elements to it and then transfer it to the original pattern so you can start making the garment.) Since the fabric was plaid, I had to make sure to match all the lines together before I could cut it. Then, I sewed the apron together and added buttons and button holes and finished it off to make it look all nice and ready for use.

Along with making the apron, I got to do a lot in the costume shop. Being an attendant there allowed me to help the costume design students with projects when I could and I altered/tailored a lot of costumes to fit actors for “Tartuffe” since all of the costumes were purchased from different places. I really enjoyed such a hands-on job, and I loved seeing my creations on stage!


Finals are coming …

The end of the semester is quickly approaching. If you’re like me, you probably can hardly wait! The weather is starting to get warmer, and you’re waking up to sunshine cutting through your window. But there is one little thing keeping you from embracing summertime: school.

Maybe you have been coasting through the semester or you diligently spend every day in the library but now your mental gas tank is on “E”. The papers are piling up and you don’t know how you’re going to survive finals. Well, just know you aren’t the only one!

But how are you going to do it? I have put together some tips to help you rock your finals and cross the finish line!!


Tip #1: Relax

OK, you probably think I have lost all credibility at this point, because how can you ever relax with all of this work looming over your head? The point is to actually be able to do the work and the only way you will be able to do that is if you have a clear mind and focus. So take some time (watching a movie, going to the beach) to really relax!


Tip #2: Visualize?

Now, I don’t mean you should actually imagine yourself writing that 20-page paper, but to SEE what you have to do. I am all about sticky notes and notepads and it is helpful to detail out what exactly you have to do and the order you need to do it.


Tip #3: Ready…Set…GO!

Ok, you’ve given yourself a well-deserved break. Then you prioritized for the remaining weeks of school. Now what? Get to it! You have all of the tools you need to finish up the school year strong. Utilize your professors, the library and the tutoring center to get you on your way.


Finals are hard, but hopefully with these tips you will stress less and see great results!!

Joining Alpha Psi Omega

This past weekend I had the privilege of being inducted into the national theater honor fraternity here at CNU, Alpha Psi Omega. It was a day filled with fun, laughter and trust as the new rush class became members. The weeks leading up to inductions were some of the most challenging, frustrating and wonderful times I’ve had. With 16 new artists formally known as pledges, or AFKAPs, the brotherhood had a lot to prepare for, and so did we. As a group we had to fundraise, create a skit, make a group paddle and make personal paddles for our bigs. With so much to do and so little time, we had to get to work – and fast!

Since I was in charge of fundraising, I had to come up with some ways to raise money for our rush class. I didn’t want us to do the traditional Chick-Fil-A fundraising event, so I tried to think of ways we could creatively raise money, which resulted in the AFKAPs having what we called a Drag Day. We started an event where if we raised $35 by the cut-off period, then certain members of our AFKAP group, who volunteered, would dress up in drag for the day and entertain everyone. The event was a success and the brothers all got a kick out of seeing some of the AFKAPs dressed in drag.

Then, because we were running out of time and were on spring break and had to do some serious fundraising, we decided to have a Chick-Fil-A event when we came back to school. We had a Save the Cows Day, where if you came to eat with us between 5-8 p.m. at Chick-Fil-A, not only would you be helping us raise money, but you could have potentially been helping save the cows in the process. It was a fun day filled with posters, chicken and raising money.

In preparation for inductions my fellow AFKAPs and I rehearsed our skit, which if you ever tried coordinating schedules with 16 different people, you would know is no easy task. All of our work paid off though, because the brothers really seemed to like our parody of “Into the Woods.” Our group paddle was a huge success and now we can say we are officially brothers of Alpha Psi Omega.

3,700 Feet

The ice-glazed trail stubbornly resisted the tread of my shoes as we continued to climb in elevation. Every step took concentration and planning before execution to avoid being thrown off balance by my heavy pack. I had wanted to get away from schedules and civilization over spring break, and the Blue Ridge Mountains seemed like just the place to do it. My roommate Tyler had come along, rather reluctantly, to accompany me on this adventure. Unfortunately, the route we had been planning for a longer hike had become inaccessible due to the recent snowstorms, but I was still determined to make the best of it. At least I knew we would be virtually alone in the mountains. Around midday, after two miles of an inhospitable, frozen, uphill climb, we reached the first peak of our short hike on the Appalachian Trail, Mary’s Rock. We took this opportunity to eat a few pieces of beef jerky we had stuffed in our packs as we gazed out toward the vast stretches of peaks and valleys making up Shenandoah National Park. Patches of white snow were scattered throughout as if trying in vain to cover every surface, but were spread too thin.

This beautiful view was short-lived, however, as we needed to continue slipping and sliding to cover more ground before finding a decent campsite for the night. After a slight descent from Mary’s Rock, we came across “Bird’s Nest #3.” These nests are small hut-type structures used by long distance through-hikers along the Appalachian Trail. We stopped in to investigate the primitive three-walled stone hut and found a red logbook on a shelf above the fireplace. Inside, we found short entries written by the hands of hikers who had entered the nest under many different circumstances. Some were escaping storms, while others were experiencing a final night under the quiet stars before heading back to their normal fast-paced lives. It wasn’t until we wrote an entry ourselves that we felt we could leave the hut and continue on the trail.

We followed the white markers up and up until we had reached our highest peak yet, the summit of The Pinnacle. Being on the summit of a mountain poses some problems when trying to find a flat place to set up camp. After a game of hide and seek with a somewhat level piece of ground however, we pitched our two-person tent. (The fact that it is a two-person tent will definitely be an important piece of information later on in the story.) So, with everything generally set up for the night, we climbed up on the massive pile of boulders to watch the sun’s final rays of light kiss Virginia goodnight. Then began the adventure of cooking by headlamp. Even in the well-lit conditions of our college apartment I’m pretty sure our oven gets about as much business as a blind barber. Luckily, Ramen and a can of beans were simple enough to cook and therefore were the only things on the menu. Unluckily, we had forgotten to bring along a can opener. I figured that’s what knives were for, so I went to work on the poor can with my larger than necessary fixed blade knife. By the time I could finally poor the contents of the can into our pot it looked like a 12-gauge shotgun had been unloaded on it. Dinner tasted great all the same and soon we were ready to turn in for the cold night. Remember when I said the two-person tent fact was important? Well, two average-size college guys squeezing into a two (one and a half) person tent in full winter clothes surrounded by all their gear makes for some pretty close quarters sleeping. We began to be grateful for the body heat, however, as frost began forming on the inner walls of the tent. We talked for a little, our voices muffled by layers of sleeping bag, until the tent fell silent. Outside I could hear unidentified sounds of animals scurrying about to collect the scraps we had dropped during our clumsy dinner. Suddenly, I felt a peace come over me. As I lay there at 3,700 feet I knew I had accomplished the seclusion I had come out to find.

I awoke to a strange noise coming from Tyler’s side of the tent. When I poked my head out to investigate, he greeted me with a funny, weird, but not uncharacteristic expression. I laughed and felt the cold air enter my lungs. Both of us knew we had to get up and break camp, but our sleeping bags were so warm and entrapping. Eventually, we fought through and ventured out back into the wild to get back before the storms came. The clouds already appeared dark and ominous overhead so our trek back down the mountain began early. The ice covering the trail, which had slightly melted the day before, had all been refrozen and was more treacherous. Even though I used a stick for balance, I fell several times – often being cushioned by my pack. I am positive I looked drunk descending that mountain, but we eventually slid our way back down to our waiting cars. Although our adventure was cut slightly short, I’ll never regret venturing out into the unknown.




Being involved and engaged is key to reaping the benefits of anything. Being a leader is more than just being in charge or having the knowledge of a specific task, but experiencing it with the people you are trying to lead and making a visible difference to them. Leadership is not about being in the foreground and the “head honcho,” but about being a part of a group.

There are a lot of ways to be a leader. You don’t just have to be the president of an organization or even have an elected position on a board. You can be a leader in the classroom by consistently participating in class or helping other students who may be falling behind or not understanding the information.

A good leader knows when to follow. A lot of people in leadership positions want to bark orders at others all day or delegate tasks. A true leader knows that it is also about giving others the opportunity to lead, because your leadership was an effective example for them.

An Unfortunate Bet

Watching the sunset is a weekly if not nightly ritual for my friends and me. However, as we pulled up to the little beach by the river on this particular night, I felt sorry for Litt. It was freezing out today and the breeze was most unwelcome to our shivering bodies. A few days earlier in the same spot, Litt and his brother had made a bet while throwing some rocks at a drainage pipe. They bet that if one of them threw a rock inside the pipe, the other would have to swim in the frigid river. At this point neither of them had come close to getting it so they both were feeling pretty safe as they selected a rock to begin the bet. Parker, Litt’s brother, threw the first one. We all watched as it flew through the air toward the pipe and were silent as it sailed straight inside. We were all stunned. Litt was just plain angry as he tried to process what had happened. He took this loss like a champ, though, and dove on in.

New Semester, New Show

TheaterCNU has started the rehearsal process for our next production: “Tartuffe.” I happen to be in this show and all I can say is that it’s really exciting to have the chance to work on another show here at CNU. While I’m not allowed to share exactly what’s going on in rehearsals, I will say I feel this show has the potential to be really good. If you know anything about “Tartuffe,” then you might know it was written by Moliere. It’s a classic play that has been done a lot. However, this show is going to have a twist … But you’ll have to come see the show to find out what it is.

With a new show comes a new director. Our director for this production of Tartuffe happens to be Professor Jim Iorio. This is his first time directing a mainstage production here at CNU, and I’m excited to see what he is like a director since I’ve only had him as a professor so far. I can’t wait to get on my feet and start blocking everything out. It’s always thrilling to be working on a new show – there are so many possibilities.

Since transferring to CNU last spring all the shows I have been able to see and be a part of have been great. They’ve had outstanding cast, crews, costumes and sets. “Tartuffe” will be no exception; we had the chance to see the set design that Professor George Hillow created, and I can’t wait to actually be in the space and acting on the set.

Going Into the Woods

As TheaterCNU gets ready to mount its production of “Into the Woods,” I am completely surprised by just how much work goes into opening a new show. This is my third semester here at CNU; I’m officially a senior and this is the last musical I’ll get to help with. Getting the chance to work in the costume shop has been a great experience – never before have I had the opportunity to make a pattern from scratch and work on two pieces by myself from start to finish. Even though I didn’t help make the set (that’s for the scene design and technology class), I still volunteered to help with load-in. Load-in is where all the set pieces get moved onto the stage, all the necessary lights get hung up, and anything that flies in during the show gets attached to the rigging system. For a show like “Into the Woods” where there is an intricate set and big set pieces, load-in can take all weekend. So, it’s great that we have such a supportive group of students who come to volunteer to help make the set come together.

I personally can’t wait to see the finished product of “Into the Woods.” It’s always difficult trying to imagine what the entire show will look like when you only get glimpses here and there, but I’m sure with such a talented cast and crew the show is going to be amazing. With the movie that just released, I’m sure there are going to be a lot of high expectations of this production, but I think the audience will be pleased.

It’s always fun getting to help make a production happen, because no matter what you contribute to the process you end up feeling a pride in what you do. Make sure you come and see it on February 20-21 and 25-27 at 8 p.m. or on the 22nd at 2 p.m.

Be Mine?

I can’t believe February has arrived and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! If you are like me and are solo this V-Day, you may feel like there isn’t much for you to do – but there is. Valentine’s Day can be fun even if you don’t have a significant other.

A perfect way to embrace your “single-ness” is to get together with a group of your single friends. Dress up and go out to a fancy restaurant or rent some of your favorite movies, order a large pizza and start scooping out the ice cream. You can watch overly dramatic rom-coms or even a scary thriller. The best part of not having a date on Valentine’s Day is that there are no expectations – do whatever YOU want to do.

Maybe you would prefer to not go out and experience the mushiness of people falling in love. (I would honestly choose this option because I have a serious relationship with my bed…) Another alternative is to spend the night in. Take a warm bubble bath, play your favorite music and celebrate your AWESOMENESS. My favorite thing to do is to get in some comfortable clothes, lay in bed and binge-watch Netflix … not much different from the night I had last night (oops!). Pull out your favorite tub of Ben and Jerry’s from the freezer, grab a giant spoon and let the night fade away as you are immersed in the world of your favorite TV characters.

Whatever you decide to do on Valentine’s Day, remember to just have fun! Being single is not a curse, it’s a blessing – no one is there to judge how much chocolate you eat!