• Learning Experiences

    by  • November 14, 2017 • Student Life, Uncategorized, Undergraduate Physical Theatre, Undergraduate Programs • 0 Comments

    With only a few weeks left of the semester this weeks bloggers Nate Rosario, Dalton Hedrick, Sabrina Sonner, Alyssa Crook, and Maggie Renfroe talk about their experiences and some of what they’ve learned about themselves here!


    Theatre students on a tour of Firenze

    Nate Rosario, Muhlenberg College
    When I was traveling for fall break I was all by myself. It was incredibly stressful on one hand
    because I’ve always traveled with someone before, and on the other hand I was really excited to
    be away from everything for a couple days. I also felt like I needed to travel by myself for once
    because I wanted to be more adult and prove to myself that I can take care of myself. Being
    alone on my trip I felt like I really grew and learned things about myself. One thing I learned
    is that traveling by yourself is a lot more relaxing because I got to do all the things I wanted to
    do instead of just following along. I also had a lot of down time to literally just stay in my hostel
    for most of the day and relax. The only thing that I missed was being around everyone
    from the school, but I wouldn’t trade the experience I had for anything.


    Dalton Hedrick, Coastal Carolina University


    Theatre Students Anna Rae Lutz and Griffin O’Connor.

    Behind the mask.
    “Do you think yourself a particular mask which does not coincide with, privately, you thinkyou are and feel?” Harry Kondoleon, Andrea Rescued
    I feel, as I imagine many artists do, a type of catch 22 at the forefront of the training I am receiving. We, as artists, are asked to excavate truths and traumas of the human experience in hopes of providing a catalyst for even a speck of empathy. For me, this has changed everything about my soul and being—an added awareness seems to be present. This awareness has served as sort of forum and language for me to process my own traumas and pains. “This process is necessary,” I had a mentor tell me once, “If you cannot accept and understand yourself fully, how on earth could you do it for your character?”
    We see the mask. Sometimes a mask is protection, from what is underneath—a shield from outside judgement. Other times, its a misplaced magnifying glass, exaggerating one aspect of a person for effect. In either instance however, the danger lies in that we often don’t recognize or intend this mask to be. Instead, our insecurities and traumas slowly accumulate through our lives into the mold of our mask, and, for me, it wasn’t until I placed on someone else mask that I realized how comfortable I had become in mine. This awareness was one of many steps along my journey as an artist, and it was simultaneously a freeing and terrifying experience. This duality that art contains extends into every aspect of its existence. In essence, it seems art is the material combination of content with form, yet its other true essence is, by its very nature, ineffable. It is somehow simultaneously eternal and ephemeral, personal and communal, catharsis and corruption. I believe art is a bonding agent, somewhere between glue and a precarious bridge. It shatters us, forcing us to look at more defined pieces of ourselves, and then offers the means in which to put them back together. It shows us the mask, and gives us a bridge between ourselves and it. We need not abandon it, but the distance that the bridge provides for us is perspective—awareness— and that is the beginnings of empathy.

    I hope that one day the art I make can do for others what is has done for me, but until then I am thankful that I get to be here, excavating pieces of my own mask.

    cat cafe

    Theatre student, Megan Muratore at a Cat Cafe!


    Sabrina Sonner, University of Southern California

    In terms of personal growth, I feel like being abroad has made me look differently at the world
    around me, and find opportunities in every place I go to every weekend. When I’m back in
    California, it’s so easy to just spend all day inside watching TV, but being abroad I’ve this desire
    to see everything in the world around me. Not that I haven’t spent my fair share of time on
    Netflix (Italian Netflix has so many good shows), but I’ve also been making sure I go to at least
    one new place every week. Last weekend, I went to the basilicas of San Francesco and Santa
    Chiara in Assisi. Before that, I went to a cat café in Prato. And fall break was a whirlwind of
    planned and unplanned adventures through London, Paris, and Amsterdam. It definitely can be
    scary to just walk up to the train station and buy a ticket to a place I know little to nothing
    about. My first couple trips even if I was on the train for an hour I would have my eyes glued to
    the stops outside. And sometimes it feels like there’s pressure to travel, or a tendency to stress
    about missing out on some big important place, or worry over the details. But more and more
    I’ve been able to relax on my journeys. And the worries are becoming less and less important in
    comparison with the amazing experiences I’m having. Every time I’ve messed up I’ve learned
    that it will be okay. I went to the wrong airport and had to take a taxi to the right one. Which
    sucked. But I made it on my flight. I missed my stop on the train, got off, bought a ticket going
    back the right way, and made it to my stop with maybe a half hour delay. So it’s this nice mix of
    feeling more proactive in making plans, but also more relaxed to letting those plans play
    themselves out without stressing over the minutiae.



    Chocolate Festival in Arezzo!




    Alyssa Crook, Muhlenberg College

    We’ve been creating so much art here at the Accademia, that sometimes I forget that it’s
    art. For example, in voice we created haikus for an exercise, but the haiku itself is poetry,
    it is art, so I thought I’d share mine:
    Lonely darkness, sad despair.
    Distant melody.





    Maggie Renfroe, Coastal Carolina University
    As this semester draws to an end, I have been thinking about what I will miss most about ADA. I
    considered gelato, the meals in the mensa, my classes, and that insane view from the roof of
    the teatrino. Eventually, I found it. What I will miss the most about the ADA is the people I have
    met while studying here. I came to the ADA with about 10 people from my school that I already
    knew well, so I wasn’t super concerned with having to make friends. However, once I met all
    the other students, something changed. As I got to know the students from the other schools, I
    discovered many people I truly connected with. Coming from different schools became a
    nonissue as I traveled with and hung out with people from all over. I joined a Dungeons and
    Dragons campaign, something I had never played before, started by a student from another
    school. I went to Rome with a group of students, none of whom are from my home university. I
    created bonds, artistic and otherwise, with people I will soon have to leave. As the end grows
    near, I find myself trying to get as much time with these people as I can. The more I am around
    these people, the more I discover about myself. Living and working with fellow artists seemed
    daunting in the beginning, but now, I only want to extend our time. While I would like nothing
    more than to stay in the ADA bubble forever, I know all of us must go back to our “normal” lives
    in the near future. I hope that the love I have for the people I have met will be felt even from
    everyone’s home universities. I am truly grateful to have had the chance to have this
    experience with this group of people. I don’t think I would have wanted it any other way.


    Theatre student, Emily Burger, in Cinque Terre.


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