It’s Been a While…

Some of you may have noticed I haven’t posted since the new year. Some of you may not have noticed. Either way, here’s why:

My final semester of college began with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), where I participated in an intense workshop series called Institute for Theater Journalism and Advocacy (ITJA). With the program, I saw 7 plays at the festival and wrote reviews on each, 2 of which were workshopped by professional theater critic Andy Propst.

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Set for “Moon Over Buffalo” at KCACTF

I took what I learned from ITJA and applied it to my English senior seminar class that semester. I took 2 extra classes, French II and elementary jazz dance, than I needed to graduate because they interested and challenged me. Although I’ve been dancing since I was 2, that jazz class brought me back to the basics that I don’t often think about and taught me jazz dance history. I also took Astronomy II as my physics elective to broaden my knowledge of the universe because stargazing is one of my favorite pastimes.

In my collaborative theatre class, I had the opportunity to film a short comedic project I wrote about problems on ESU’S campus. Watch below:

On top of classes on weekdays, my extracurriculars had me booked almost every weekend. I worked on theater productions, danced in the Cabaret, helped organize the International Festival, volunteered with Rotaract and met all requirements as a brother of Phi Sigma Pi, including a volleyball tournament in Maryland!

 

I am no longer set to serve in the Peace Corps, so I spent a lot of the semester applying for flight attendant jobs to live my dream of flying and traveling.

I spent spring break visiting friends from study abroad in England and Scotland. I even saw some panda bears, my favorite animal, for the first time!

After graduation early May, I got a paid eight week internship at the “Scranton Times,” where I am currently writing newspaper articles. I also work at McDonald’s on the weekend for extra cash to save up for my big move to NYC mid-September. More on that later…

In the meantime, here are some photos from my most recent NYC visit. I saw Sweeney Todd and enjoyed pre-show pie and mash by Obama’s White House pastry chef!

I’ve been quite busy recently, if I say so myself, but I have a lot more to look forward to! Stay tuned.

What are you looking forward to this summer?

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2017 Roundup

The last few months of 2017 were exciting, but I cannot say they were as exciting as the first few weeks. I celebrated the beginning of 2017 in Brussels, Belgium and visited France, Greece and Germany before my final week in England for study abroad.

Even though the end of last year could not compare to the beginning, here are some highlights of the last two months:

  • Phi Sigma Pi Philly Cup soccer tournament: I competed in a soccer tournament with a few of my Phi Sigma Pi bros from ESU and other universities, mostly from the east coast. My team came in third place out of about 20 teams. I was tired, but it was worth the experience. On the final day, we even got to party on a yacht!
  • “The Laramie Project”: ESU’s Stage II theater club performed “The Laramie Project.” The entire production was put together by my fellow students. I was on the props team and the PR team. The impact of this show was even brought to the streets, when a Christian hate group protested on ESU’s campus. Theater students involved in the production counter-protested by bringing the prop angel wings used in the show to block out the hate group. This action mirrored a scene from the play, which is all based on actual events and interviews from residents of Laramie, Wyo.
  • Phi Sigma Pi induction: We inducted 11 new members into ESU’s chapter of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. I am excited to see what Tau class brings to the fraternity.
  • Alpha Psi Omega induction: I was inducted into ESU’s chapter of the National Theatre Honor Society this past semester.

 

  • Peace Corps acceptance: I have been accepted into the Peace Corps to serve in Togo, West Africa after graduation! I will be a Food Security Educator during my two years of service. I am currently waiting to be legally and medically cleared before it is official. I also have to learn to speak French and ride a mountain bike. These will be the most challenging parts of pre-service, but I am confident I can learn them.

This year, although it is only a few days into 2018, I reunited with my study abroad flatmate Dara. We spent the day in New York City and saw Miss Saigon on Broadway!

I have one more trip to the UK to visit friends I made during my study abroad before I begin my Peace Corps service. I am excited, but it is also bittersweet because I will only be in the UK for one week.

Next week, I will be attending the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I will be participating in the Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy during the festival, where I also hope to take part in performing arts workshops.

Halloween 2017

I spent this Halloweekend celebrating with theater friends and my Phi Sigma Pi bros. I was a basic witch on Friday and a geek on Saturday.

Me and Phi Sigma Pi bro Helene as a geek and a flapper

Also, I finally got my driver’s license Saturday morning! Now all I need is a car so I don’t have to rely on others to take me to doctor appointments, etc. That will be a huge weight off my shoulders.

My Halloween pumpkin
The Monday before Halloween, I saw “Madame Butterfly” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. I went with fellow theater majors from ESU.

My ticket, my program and outside the Met
This opera was not the best, but also not the worst that I have seen. I saw three other operas: “La Boheme” at the Met, “La Triviata” at the National Theatre in Prague, and “Rigoletto” in Germany. The other three were a lot more fast paced and action packed than “Madame Butterfly.”

Up next: Philly Cup Soccer Tournament and ESU’s “The Laramie Project”

Salem and “The Crucible”

As part of the theatre department at East Stroudsburg University, I am performing in “The Crucible” this week. There are two more chances to see the show: tonight at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. Our production invites audiences to connect the 1692 Salem witch hunt with modern day “witch hunts” involving cults and scapegoating.

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Act II, Scene ii: “Girls Gone Wild”

Throughout the show, we incorporate projections and tableaux to emphasize themes in the play and reality. I am part of the production’s dramaturgy team, so I researched media to include in the projections. I also choreographed the opening ritual for our production.

Along with dramaturgy and choreography, I also play the role of Ruth Putnam. Ruth is one of the young “afflicted” girls who accuses people of witchcraft to end land disputes for her family.

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My dramaturgy lobby display posters

In history, Ruth’s name was actually Ann Putnam, Jr. Along with Abigail Williams, Ann Jr. accused the most people of witchcraft throughout the Salem witch hysteria.

As part of our cast and crew’s research, we took a weekend trip to Salem, Mass last month. Driving in, we felt a mysterious chill and experienced a mist in the air unlike any other. We explored both historic Salem town, now Salem, and Salem village, now Danvers. We went on the Black Cat Salem tour, which was highly informative, and our guide, Dan, tailored the tour to “The Crucible.”

I also went to the Salem Witch Museum, and other members of our group visited Salem Dungeons and other museums.

During the trip, I encountered many witch-y tourist spots, visited the harbor and saw a comedy improv show while on a night out in Boston.

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Enjoying a drink before the comedy improv in Boston

My experience with “The Crucible” has opened my mind more than any other show I have worked on so far. Have you had a similar experience? Share it in the comments, I would love to hear about it!

Next up: Halloween!

Sweden: Summer 2017

I took a comparative media class in Lund, Sweden for two weeks in July, and explored Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

Lund Cathedral and Swedish + Scandinavian flags
The class was led by an East Stroudsburg University professor, and the majority of students I traveled there with attend ESU. In the comparative media class, we discussed differences between media in nine countries, including our own observations from Sweden and the States. We also took excursions to two media companies, a viking town and Kronberg Castle in Helsingor, where Hamlet is based.

Viking town

I attended class every weekday morning from 9 a.m. until around noon, explored southern Sweden in the afternoons and studied for the next classes at night. I enjoyed the nightlife with my classmates on weekends, as well as visiting Copenhagen, Denmark and reuniting with Jacqueline, my flatmate from my England study abroad, in Germany.

Art in Malmö, a park in Lund and a cafe in Ystad
I studied on Lund University’s campus in Skåne, Sweden. Skåne is the southern part of the country from Helsingor to Malmö, which is connected to Copenhagen, Denmark by the Øresund Bridge. Besides Lund, I visited Malmö, Ystad and Stockholm in Sweden, along with the Danish cities of Helsingor, by ferry, and Copenhagen.

Boat and a bridge pillar in Stockholm

Lund and Malmö were the prettiest and had the most personality of the cities I visited in Sweden, while Copenhagen was the most fun and interesting for me. I rode a virtual reality roller coaster at Tivoli Gardens, explored Rosenberg Castle, went out in the Meatpacking District, climbed the Round Tower, witnessed breathtaking church interiors, walked through Freetown Christiana and strolled along the famous Nyhavn canal district.

Nyhavn
Changing of the guard in Copenhagen, view from atop the Round Tower, Danish flags and Rosenberg Castle

During the final weekend of my trip, I visited Jacqueline in Germany. I had not originally planned on visiting her until on the flight into Copenhagen. I was watching the flight’s map as we were landing and could see Frankfurt relatively close to Copenhagen, and wondered “doesn’t Jacqueline live near Frankfurt…” I immediately messaged her on landing and asked what the closest airport to her is. She said Cologne, I found a cheap last minute RyanAir flight and asked if I could visit for a weekend.

Dom Cathedral
While in Germany, Jacqueline introduced me to radler, a German style of beer with sprite. I had beer with lemonade last time I visited Germany, but this was my first one with sprite. I am not a big beer drinker, but I enjoy radler!

Line on the cable car and me and Line at Panorama
We climbed the Dom Cathedral, visited a Lindt chocolate factory, saw a Panoramic view of the city and rode a cable car from one side of Cologne to another!

Next up: Gishwhes 2017, Senior year updates and Salem, MA!

Independence Day Shenanigans

I spent America’s Independence Day swimming, eating and enjoying fireworks with family as usual.

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Me playing with a sparkler

My aunt hosts 4th of July at her house each year, yet people still ask if/when she’s hosting it. It’s become a running joke with my family whenever people ask about it.

This 4th was hotter and less cloudy than the last ones, so it was a nice chance to swim for the majority of the day.

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But when the sun went down, we pulled up our chairs around the fire pit and celebrated freedom! We lit some sparklers and threw some snaps, then set off some bigger fireworks. My family joked around about who had the best fireworks in the neighborhood.

My cousin even claimed a spaceship sighting:

Up next: Exploring Sweden and Denmark as I take a summer comparative media class in Lund, Sweden

 

Study Abroad Broadcast Journalism Final Projects

I took a broadcast journalism class when I studied abroad at Sunderland University in England.

Broadcast journalism was definitely the most challenging class I took abroad. I began the class with no previous broadcast experience. I had no clue what a “package” or a “vox” was and no idea how to record a phone interview. But I quickly learned.

I worked with the rest of the news team to produce radio and TV news shows for Spark FM’s “Word On Wearside” each week. I created multiple news packages for both radio and TV throughout the term, learning from each one.

Below are my radio and TV packages for my final project:

Check out my other journalism work on my newly updated e-portfolio!