Season: 2013

Summer Seminar for High School Juniors

Posted on Sep 20th, 2013 in Education Matters

Students from the Summer Seminar for High School Juniors share their experiences.

For two weeks in August, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival hosted 65 high school juniors for an intensive theatre training experience. After being selected through a rigorous application process, the students saw 9 plays in the OSF season, took workshops with our theatre professionals on subjects ranging from acting to prop design to arts management. It was a life changing journey for these lucky young adults. A few chose to share some of their journal entries from while they were here. Together these journal entries tell the story of the journey they had during the Summer Seminar for High School Juniors.

Sunday, July 28

Tonight is the night before I leave for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I am scared out of my pants and bloody excited as hell, but also just really hoping that I don’t blow it. I’ve never ever done Shakespeare before and I’m so incredibly worried that I’ll mess it up or blow it in some way. I’m afraid I won’t make friends. I’m afraid the teachers won’t like me. But most of all I’m afraid I’ll discover that outside of Malibu, I’m nothing special. Now I know that’s not true, but still I’m scared. Well, I better stop worrying and start packing!

Sunday, July 28

I am on my final plane ride of my voyage to Ashland. I am so excited for the Seminar to begin. It is comforting to know that this Seminar is not centered around competition. We’ve all made it in the program and now it is time to work together and get all that we can out of the Seminar. I want to challenge myself to fully submerge myself heart and soul into this Seminar. I am so ready to embark on this journey.

Monday, July 29

Everyone so desperately wants to be here and is filled with such an innate sense of joy: everyone belongs. Everyone is a part of the whole. Just a cog in a clock. Normally, you’d be threatened and scared of this, but it’s strangely comforting dropping your sense of self and finding a greater idea of being. It’s not something you say. It’s something you are.

Saturday, August 3

Today was amazing. I loved every activity. I connected with my passion of loving Hip Hop with Claudia Alick. She was an inspiring teacher. Also “The Unfortunates” was an amazing show and I feel in love.

Sunday, August 4

During intermission for “My Fair Lady”, I stood in front of the stage. As I stared at that stage I decided that I had finally found pure beauty.

Sunday, August 4

Today it hit me. When “The Taming of the Shrew” cast stepped out for their bows, I recognized nearly all of the actors. Just yesterday, the man playing Lucentio saw me perform and told me I was brilliant. I would say that his statement is false, but that would be going against the words of the Artistic Director of OSF, who told us all to make fire out of coal and never let anyone tell you that you are not special. I think that it was after this day, that I realized how special this program is and how privileged I feel to be here. Life is awesome.

Monday, August 5

During the Romeo and Juliet workshop I was able to emotionally and physically learn about the characters Romeo and Juliet and their life or death situation. It was empowering and eye-opening and really allowed me to connect with my partner in a deep way.

Monday, August 5

Romeo and Juliet workshop. Dear Lord. Really got into character (surprisingly) Began by holding hands. Throughout all the workshop, held hands, squeezed in reassurance. Such a rush.

Monday, August 5

Cynthia Rider said you don’t see the consequences of actions until years down the road. I see things that have affected me now at Seminar. I’m understanding the magnitude because it will help me in the future, but also now.

Tuesday, August 6

Before seeing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” we had a playwriting forum. The speaker was so inspiring. He talked about making plays in tiny theatres on microscopic budgets with untrained actors just to tell a story. I’m an actress, yes, but it’s been awhile since I’ve really thought about why that’s who I choose to be. I know that my tiny future apartment in Manhattan will be packed to capacity with fellow starving artists, but I choose to live that way because I want to tell stories. I want my story to be told, and I’m the only person who can make that happen. 

Thursday, August 8

Yesterday Blair told us these were our days of “lasts,” but it seems like only yesterday was out day of “firsts”: I remember the first day. Standing in the dorm lobby, looking at all the new faces saying, “I’m gonna be friends with every single one of them.” I love being around these people from all over the country, even some from different continents who all have the same passions I have. Not only have I made amazing friends that I’ll cherish forever, but I’ve learned so much and for that I’m truly grateful.

Thursday, August 8

It’s pretty amazing that in such a short time I feel closer with many of these people than with others I’ve known for years. I honestly don’t know how I could go back to my theatre company at school. At the same time I’m bursting with excitement to bring back all this amazing stuff and ideas and methods and experiences and enthusiasm.

Thursday, August 8

So many things have changed my life through this experience. Watching plays like “The Tenth Muse” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” really affected me emotionally and on a level I never expected. Meeting so many new people seemed terrifying before I got here two Sunday’s ago. I can’t believe it’s already almost over! I am sad to be leaving everyone, but at the same time I miss my parents. Also I think all the other Semmies would agree with me about being exhausted. Coming here and realizing I could succeed makes me feel so much more self-confident. I have proved wrong all of those who wanted me to fail. I know I made the right choice coming here, because I know now I can succeed. I can make new friends, do well in acting workshops, even learn to rap! This Seminar has taught me as long as I’m trying, I can’t go wrong.


What do you think?

Add your comments to the conversation below.


optional fields +