The Bucket List

by Lauren Vespoli | 3/7/13 11:00pm

Calling it "acting" might be a bit of a stretch, as I was on stage for a total of two minutes, but as of last week it can technically be said that I have been involved in a theatrical production at Dartmouth. My avid readers (read: my parents, although I have a sneaking suspicion they're exaggerating) will remember that earlier in the term I tried out for the Vagina Monologues. When I auditioned, I forgot that there's a difference between auditioning for a production eight weeks in the future, which in Dartmouth time is at least six months, and actually waiting in the wings, feeling like you're going to throw up and pee your pants at the same time before going on stage in front of a "sold out" theater (free tickets will do that) to say phrases that a vagina might say, including, but not limited to, "Rock me!" Anyone who knows me in solely an academic or professional setting might be shocked. Yes, indeed it is the quieter ones you have to watch out for.

Die hard Bucket List fans, please forgive me for my redundancy, but seven columns ago I wrote of how nervous I was to read a monologue in front of the show's four directors during auditions. Fast forward to last week, and it was showtime in front of a packed 480-seat Moore Theater. It's one thing to be nervous about taking an exam or blitzing someone a formal invitation. But when you're on stage and you screw up, everyone sees it and you can't just pretend that it didn't happen or run away, as one might do any other sort of embarrassing situation. No, the old adage proves true and the show must go on. I can proudly say that my group did not mess up noticeably in the two nights the production ran.

Because of this small success, I now feel qualified as a bona fide woman of the stage to enlighten all lay-people as to what they should know before they commit themselves to any sort of theater production at Dartmouth, or ever. You should heed my words because I can now say I've "performed" on the same stage as the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

One: Even if your part consists only of saying random phrases, you will still have to rehearse, a lot. Even "tech-ing" the show, or cueing the lights with your movements, can take five hours.

Two: When on stage, find your light. I'm still not sure what this means, but our directors said it a lot and it sounded important.

Three: You will get a dressing room. Yes, I'm talking the kind with the bright lights around the mirrors, and this will make you feel special. Even if you don't consider yourself to be the vain type, I guarantee you will find yourself spending a shockingly long time in front of it perfecting your "stage makeup."

Four: Don't wear said "stage makeup" anywhere public when grabbing your dinner before the show unless you don't mind looking like a harlequin/harlot in front of your peers without any obvious explanation.

Mainly I'm glad I got my practice on the stage this winter. I think I'm now ready to move on to the next great drama: senior spring.

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