The joys, struggles of a student-produced theater group

Published April 30, 2016, 5:31 p.m. - 163 views


Misswicken. Miss Wiccan. Myswyken.
It’s a weird name. We know it’s a weird name. It works out because we’re weird people.
Our rehearsals often feature the dulcet tones of bagpipes. Sometimes we switch it up to techno-remix bagpipes. It depends on the day.
There’s no way to say this without sounding a bit condescending, but for those of you who don’t know, the Myswyken Salad Theatre Company is a student theater organization here on campus. We have a Facebook page. This isn’t an advertisement, I’m merely observing what is true. We also hold fundraisers. Again, not a plug, just an observation. But moving right along.
I’m horrified to say that when I first heard that this group was accepting new members, I barely considered auditioning. However, some lovely young men I met at an audition for another show convinced me to reconsider. At the first meet- ing, I was a bit doubtful, and incredibly confused. This group was so unlike anything I’d ever experienced, and there were, you know, sophomores. Who
are, like, old. But after a few weeks of rehearsing, bonding and creating, I couldn’t believe that I had almost passed up the chance to be a part of something so special. I know I must sound awfully platitudinous (who says the SATs are useless?), but it’s true.
The bonds that form between people who make art together are nearly indescribable.
Theater is intrinsically dependent upon the relation- ships built between the artists and the audience. Because this is true, it requires you to be aware of everyone and every- thing; to find a balance between advocating for your ideas and the ideas of those around you. Performing with others teaches you to respect, to listen and to trust. All of this being said, I don’t think it will surprise any of you to hear that I have completely fallen in love with each and every one of these talented, generous and kind individuals.
One night in November, after rehearsing until midnight, a few of us sat on the sidewalk outside of Mohn talking about our astrological signs and our Myers-Briggs letters. In case there was any confusion, we are indeed those theater people. I don’t think I’ve ever been hap- pier to go to bed four hours
before my 8 a.m.
Rehearsals turn into conversations about anything and everything. No topic is too unrelated. Squad dinners don’t happen, ahem, as often as I’d like, but whenever they do, it’s the highlight of my week.
Of course, there are times when there is so much ten- sion in the room that the meet- ing devolves into the first-years looking nervously at the sophomores, wondering who’s going to throw their water bottle first. But even when we dis- agree, or say snappish things to each other, or want storm out, find an empty room and scream because someone is being remarkably stupid, we always figure it out. We know that we can depend on the people around us to solve, decide or otherwise handle whatever needs to be solved, decided or handled.
Even the most frustrating of rehearsals contain moments of laughter, and I’m not talking about polite giggling, but that “Well, I guess I have to pee now” sort of laughter that is almost impossible to stop.
Joining Myswyken has changed my life in a very real way.
I met a group of young women who are all absolutely amazing and inspiring. Each one of them could take over the world in about five minutes.
I met a group of strapping young gents who are all incredibly gracious and kind. (I may have tried to be a bro for a long time. It was maybe a poor life choice.)
I met a dude who once told me that he considers me to be his little sister, and it was one of the proudest moments of my life.
I met my platonic, gal pal soul mate.
Katie, Avery, Bjorn, Josh, Christine, Will, Matt, Ian, Chaz and Bess: my dysfunctionally wonderful, wonderfully dys- functional family. Each and every one of you helped to make this year one of the best years of my life. I couldn’t properly express my gratitude if I tried.
Thank you.
isbell1@stolaf.edu 

About the Author

Annika Isbell, class of 2019 is a major.

isbell1@stolaf.edu

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