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Theatre at Hamilton

December 6, 2012   

When I was looking at colleges, I knew that I wanted to go to a school where I could participate in theatre.  I’ve always been more of a science person academically, but I love everything about theatre.  It’s such a thrill to perform or to see all of your hard work behind the scenes come to life during a production.  However, I didn't want theatre to overload my college experience.  For me, it's more of a passion than a future career path.  Luckily, Hamilton has provided me with some amazing opportunities to encourage my love for theatre and to witness amazing productions starring my peers.

Back in high school, I started participating in technical theatre and was really interested in continuing that here.  I’ll never forget the day during freshman year when I saw my friend Jim heading to Minor Theatre and asking him if I could come along to see how I could get involved in the main stage product put on by the theatre department.  Since then, I've been working in Minor to help build the sets for the main stages that happen once a semester.  I’ve learned so many great things about construction, working with others, and have been able to meet amazing people and mentors in the Hamilton theatre community.

This past semester, the theatre department put on the play The Dispute, which explores the topic of interactions between men and women.  For our set, we transported the audience to another world by setting up a circus tent with a grassland scene inside, including a brook running through the center of the set.  Yes, that’s right, we had to build a flowing body of water inside surrounded by grass, all of which had to fit inside a circus tent!  This was definitely one of the most interesting sets I’ve ever worked on.  The hardest part about it was not getting the tent up (which a rental company did) or laying down the grass, but the construction of a body of water that had to flow.  To do this, we had to raise the level of the stage using platforms to create a “stream” that was below the level of the performance space.  We then had to seal off the stream to prevent water from leaking through and create a mechanism to allow the water to be pumped from one side of the stage to the other.  However, when it was finished, all of our hard work paid off.  The set was absolutely amazing and fit the production perfectly.  To complement our awesome set, the performance by the actors was also spot on.  This was definitely one of my favorite shows that I have seen or been involved with at Hamilton.

In addition to opportunities through the theatre department, Hamilton’s student-run theatre organization Untitled@Large provides students with support and funding to put on their own shows.  This past weekend, my friend Lauren directed The Normal Heart to raise money for AIDS awareness on World AIDS Day.  The Normal Heart follows the story of gay men who are at the forefront of the grassroots beginnings of AIDS research activism in New York City, all while having to deal with the detrimental effects that the disease is having on them and their friends.  This compelling story was completely brought to life by Lauren and her cast.  For those of you who haven't seen it, The Normal Heart already has a heart wrenching plot, but Lauren’s production brought tears to my eyes.  Her actors portrayed their characters wonderfully and with such compassion that I couldn’t help but get teary as they lost friends (and themselves) to AIDS.

Obviously, there are so many opportunities to be involved with theatre here at Hamilton.  I'm so thankful that I was able to continue my passion for theatre without having to major in it.  Overall, the theatre scene at Hamilton is a nurturing, welcoming community and I'm so happy to be a part of it!