Into the Schools

Hello there! I’m Kirsten O’Donnell, a senior transfer student from Aurora, IL at Lawrence University. I am a vocal performance major with a minor in Theatre. Today we woke up and my nerves already had the best of me. Our main task for the day was for five of us (Jessica, Portia, Phillip, Madeline, and myself) to visit the choir class at Sevastopol High School and give a presentation about Greyfell. I was nervous and afraid I would make a fool of myself because we had done a ton of planning for events such as this, but had no real life action. The first issue was we hadn't realized we would be missing lunch. Since we are in Door County, finding somewhere to get fast food was not easy. After a lot of searching, we finally reached a Culver’s, satisfied our famished bodies, and headed off Sevastopol School. 

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We arrived at the school and were welcomed by the very spunky choir director, Cheryl Pfister. She led us to the choir room and immediately started throwing things around the room to make space for us. Once the kids got there, everything calmed down. I realized that we were there for them, and really had quite little to do with me. If we were able to get through to one student, we would have succeeded. The best part was that we got through to all of them. 

Madeline and I reading Jonah.

Madeline and I reading Jonah.

Quickly, we got them out of their seats and started playing theatre games. One student responded with “awkward” and they all agreed. She laughed and said “ok, so if you feel awkward and all of us feel awkward, shouldn’t none of us feel awkward?” We watched as they relaxed and became more comfortable with each other and us. They were able to focus better, work as a cohesive unit and work more comfortably with us. This was shown specifically when Phillip started his activity about setting a scene based on a picture. The students started calling out answers, laughing, showing interest, challenging each other, and exploring the world they were creating as we went along. Phillip’s exercise made a perfect transition into the reading of Jessica and Portia’s play, Jonah. 

Awkward Dancing

Awkward Dancing

As a new actor, I was terrified of this portion of the day. I am a nervous reader and over think just about everything. Yet, through the beautiful writing of Jessica and Portia, as well as the support of collaborating with Madeline, I finally felt comfortable exploring the world we were creating.

I have rarely felt more fulfilled than when we reach a scene that requires us to awkwardly dance. Odd, I know. But they ate it up. It was funny and awkward and me. I felt uninhibited, something that I have rarely felt. This moment to me, as an actor, was pivotal because simply let go. They may have taught me more than I taught them. I couldn't be happier with how the day went.