January Lesson: Theater is worth it

by OFA Staff

By Julianne Ross '11

The long hours of rehearsal that working on a show requires combined with the seemingly endless flow of homework that Harvard bestows upon its students are not always conducive to the creative process. Focusing on analyzing scripts and learning lines is hard when one should be memorizing formulas for an exam the next day or finishing up that junior paper. Much of my experience with theater at Harvard, though enjoyable and rewarding, has been tainted by the stress that comes with trying to keep up academically when rehearsals can average 30 hours a week.

That was part of the reason why a J-Term theater program was so appealing to me; I would finally get the chance to improve my acting without papers and p-sets hanging over my head.

One professor in the intensive referred to it as "pre-shopping period shopping," and I think this describes J-Term accurately. I’m finally getting the chance to try out all those theater classes that I’ve always wanted to take at Harvard, but that I never could fit in my schedule (what with core requirements, tutorials, language citations and expos), while simultaneously testing the waters of graduate school in acting.

I now will go into the spring semester with a much better idea of what I want to focus on in my theatrical experience at Harvard, both inside and outside of the classroom, and with a renewed conviction that the intense commitment theater requires is, and always has been, worth it.

[Caption: Still from Mnemonic at the New College Theatre]