Though there have been a lot of fantastic things about studying abroad, one of the things I think I will miss the most about this experience is the incredible and supportive community that exists here at the ADA. From the very first open mike night back in September, it was so cool to see how everyone came together to support each other’s work and talent; even though we barely knew each other, everyone was so excited about everyone else’s work. There was no judgment involved, just people coming together curious in what their classmates could do. I found that this sort of attitude also extended to our classes here as well. Many times in class we may be asked to do something that, at the time, seems ridiculous or out of our comfort zone. However, I never felt afraid to do anything in class, because I knew that even if I didn’t do it well, my classmates and teachers would still continue to be supportive and help me to improve further. This sense of community felt especially clear to me last week, when each of the three student groups had their final showings; the theatre students presented short commedia scenes, the theatre MFA students showed work from a clown workshop, and the music students presented pieces they had been working on all semester, including several group pieces. At each of these presentations (which were all beyond incredible), everyone in the audience was so engaged and interested in what the other students had been up to the whole semester. Even if the work they were watching was no familiar to them, everyone who came to these showings was completely invested and supportive to the people performing. This kind of attitude is what fosters the sense of freedom and artistic creativity at the ADA, and is definitely something I will miss greatly about this experience.
– Will Kellogg
It used to seem like we would have all the time in the world here in Arezzo, and all of a sudden there are only a few days left! While I’m excited to get back home to my family, non-Tuscan bread, and 1% milk, there are some things here in Arezzo that I’m definitely going to miss:
-O’Scugnizzo – the most incredible pizza I’ve ever had is at this pizza restaurant in Arezzo.
-Charita’s delicious meals in the Mensa (our dining hall at Accademia dell’Arte).
-Being a short train ride away from so many beautiful towns and cities in Italy.
-Our theatre classes – I have learned so much in our core classes: Commedia dell’Arte, Movement and Voice, as well as our amazing workshops, and I already miss learning with the fantastic teachers here.
-My new friends – the theatre and music students who don’t go to Muhlenberg, the MFAs, and the staff!
I believe I will miss the educational philosophy that the faculty applies to their lessons at Accademia dell’Arte. When I reflect upon my college education, this semester in Italy has been the most engaging, collaborative, and liberating experience. I have a variety of new tools as well as an understanding of how I perceive myself as a theatre artist. Thanks to the new techniques and self reflection, I received a well-rounded educational experience this semester. As I approach my graduation, I will dearly miss my time here at ADA, and working with teachers who treated me as an equal, encouraged me to take risks, and broadened my perception of what art is.
– Elyse Brown
Throughout the past three months we’ve been enrolled here at the Academia dell’Arte, we’ve been exposed to a number of courses, workshops, and projects which encourage us to explore the full range of vocal and physical possibilities, and I believe that as a result we have all become more well-rounded performers. I can’t properly express the significance of such work without including the experiences of partnered work, as well as work within the context of chorus and individual, and finally solo work that is performed or practiced within the group environment of a classroom. For the actor, the value of the give-and-take relationship with the space, the spectators, and fellow players is immeasurable. Throughout the past three months, every single class has incorporated the importance of work in relation to others, and how the voice and body can achieve such relationships.
It took me quite a while to realize this. In fact, during my fourth and fifth week here I thought I had made a mistake, like I wasn’t really progressing here and the things I needed to be learning and working towards were at Coastal (my “home school”). Now it’s strange for me to think I felt that way at all.
Being here has taught me so much that I don’t think I could have learned anywhere else.
For example, when you do physical work, you become a lot less judgmental, because there are certain things that it will take weeks, months, or years to be able to do. And just as you want others to be patient with you, you become more patient with them. Here at the Accademia, instead of thinking of yourself in competition with others, you see yourself as a part of a community of others. What you can do “better” or “worse” than others becomes obsolete, and shifts focus to what you can do with or for others to create a larger picture. Because someone else can offer something completely different – and, no, not better or worse – than you, what you can create together goes beyond what you had the potential to do on your own.
Although, for me personally, it was physical work is what taught me that, it is true of text work as well.
True of anything, really.
Had I not enrolled as a theatre student here at the Academia dell’Arte, I don’t believe I would have ever realized the significance of such work as an actor, or to myself as an individual.