Winter Shorts: Drama, Laughter, and Long Hours

     Every fall UAF's Theatre and Film Department puts on it's yearly tradition: Winter Shorts. Winter Shorts is typically a couple of  short (ha ha get it?) plays, generally one act, often written by local playwrights and with students acting as... well actors as well as directing the pieces. For the past two years, I've sat in the audience and admired the works of the student actors and student directors in their stellar performances. But not this year! This year I decided to step out of my comfort zone (in the audience) and really challenge myself. This whole year I've dedicated to putting myself out there. I auditioned for any and all parts back in early September, I figured the odds of me getting a part were pretty good considering there were so many different kinds of plays this year.
     Let me just tell you, I am terrible at auditions. I've always been bad at reading out loud (in elementary school they had me go to a specialist to help with this very problem) and with the added pressure of 5 directors watching and critiquing, the stakes were high. I was sure I bombed the audition but I didn't give up hope as there were a lot of parts to be filled. After the audition I went home and did the thing any stressed out college student could do at that point... I took a nap. When I woke up an hour later I listen to the new voicemail on my phone. I was one of the directors offering me a part. I was elated! I immediately got in contact with my director to tell her I accept. I was very excited to be a part of Winter Shorts, a tradition I had supported for the past two years. 
     So after weeks of rehearsing (Mondays and Thursdays) with my scene partner and my director I finally felt ready-ish, as ready as I could anyway. Then, before I knew it, it was what we in the theatre department lovingly refer to as "Hell Week." With a title like that, the mind tends to imagine the worst case scenario. I had some insight on what "Hell Week" would be like from my theatre days in high school, and back then it really deserved that title. However, I was very pleasantly surprised here at UAF by the professionalism, the lack of stress, and the general feeling of support among all of the different, actors, stage managers, directors and our absolutely incredible technical director. It was long hours of hard work but the hours flew by and before we knew it, it was the Free Preview Night with our first audience from outside of the theatre and film department. No performance on live stages are ever perfect, but even when I stumbled a little bit, it did not bother me, because I felt supported and my director was proud and my scene partner and I were happy with the results and that's all I could hope for. With 6 live shows, you can really experiment each time with different emotions and techniques (not going to crazy with the alterations, mind you) which gives each night a different kind of feel to it. Some nights it was amazing, other nights I felt it was just good enough. I was happy to end it on a high note though, I definitely felt that the last show was our best one.
Picture of me (left) and my scene partner, Rachel (right) during an intense scene
    Now it is post performances and while I am glad to have the added pressure of the shows off of my shoulders, though I do find myself a bit lost. Worried that I am late for a rehearsal or something because I have so much free time that I don't know what to do with myself, a feeling my friends and I refer to as Post Play Depression. It was truly a great experience and I am proud of myself for sticking it through.
     I think it was probably the best Winter Shorts that I have ever seen, though I might be a tad bit biased. :)

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