Angelique Archer and William Benthem de Grave, both members of the Class of 2020, share dual passions — economics and theatre — and found a way to develop them both, in part because Hamilton has an open curriculum. Archer and de Grave both intend to forge a career in theatre. Here’s what they have to say about their disparate academic pursuits.
How did you end up with that combination of majors?
Angelique: I got into Hamilton and the Posse program knowing that I was going to become a theatre major. And then my parents, and a lot of other people, were like, ‘OK, but what else?’ And econ sort of just found its way into there. I took an econ class my senior year of high school and continued doing it, and then realized how much I loved it — and how much I loved the way you are able to study society.
Will: I’m trying to be a professional actor, I’m putting most of my focus now into theatre, into building myself as an actor. I’m studying in Chicago at Second City next fall. This summer I’m going to Stella Adler (Studio) to study realism. I’m trying to round myself as much as possible in acting. And then, with econ, it is kind of a backup, but I also find it very interesting. My dad has been an international financial advisor for his entire career. I’ve always watched the news with him, he’s always talked to me about this stuff — and it’s always been interesting.
What’s the best thing about being a theatre major?
Angelique: Everything. I love theatre. I like econ but I love theatre, and this semester has just been me realizing that every aspect of theatre, I love. What would be my favorite aspect? My favorite aspect of theatre and performance is exploring humanity in all of its complexities. And how, as an actor, you are able to become someone or explore parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed.
Will: Probably the community. To me, my closest friends, arguably, are in the Theatre Department. When you do a production at Hamilton, like a main stage production, there’s no better way to get to know a group of people. Because you’re all just invested in the same thing, working with each other. Especially when Tech Week comes around, and everyone’s just exhausted. It’s a shared exhaustion.
What’s the best thing about being an economics major?
Angelique: Something that I’ve really explored this semester is developmental economics, which is using the skills that you would use in science to help society.
Will: It’s definitely given me a larger perspective of how the world actually works, not just in an economic sense but in terms of how self-interest works. I’ve never been that into politics, but now I find myself looking more at the news, specifically in economics, but a lot more things make sense in the world...
Did the open curriculum have an impact on your ability to pursue both?
Angelique: Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to double major and study (off-campus) for an entire year without the open curriculum. Even if I had a couple of more requirements, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Hamilton really allowed me to do that, and so did the fact that my professors pushed me to do it. Because I was thinking about dropping the New York City program and spending another semester here, and Mark Cryer, my theatre professor and advisor, was like, ‘No. There is so much more that you can learn studying (off campus).’
Will: Oh yeah, completely. The open curriculum has easily let me do both of those things. But also I think it’s great because in econ you have to do intro, micro, and macro classes, but now that I’ve finished those, I can put my focus into what I want to do in econ. And in theatre, I can do more performance classes as opposed to design classes. In economics, I’m interested in statistics and econometrics and stuff like that. At a conservatory or at a business school, it’s just not (all) available.