18 November 2005

And then I knew

When I was two classes away from completing my BA degree I had a sudden urge to completely drop Art History in favor of Costume Design. This was brought on by a class the previous semester that focused on the history of dress in western society. I was fascinated, and my Art History training made the class all the more interesting. Parallels were everywhere.

So, two classes left to graduation not withstanding, I started taking the foundation classes for a degree in Costume Design. Becuase Costume Design fell under the canopy of theater and media arts, one of these classes was on theater history. In one semester we studied the highlights of western and eastern civilization's dramatic arts from ancient times through the Renaissance. Interesting stuff, and I learned a lot too. I even enjoyed it.

But there was one day when I realized that I didn't belong. The lecture turned to the role of theater in society. The professor recounted an experience in which he knew that he wanted to spend his life working as a play write. "Isn't that why we are all here? Aren't you in this major because you believe that theater can change lives?" He asked if anyone in the class wanted to share a theater-changed-my-life experience of their own. I sat there like stone as student after student spoke of heart-expanding, soul-defining, character-forming, tear-jerking, life-changing moments--all connected to seeing or performing or reading plays.

So there I am sitting there like stone while my fellow students were as one experiencing a catharsis of mutual meaning.

The next semester, I took my last two classes and graduated. Sometimes I wish I had chosen a more employable degree, like Art Education or Graphic Design. But I have no regrets about walking away from theater.


Josh said...

i can identify. i think that professor was a little over-the-top. i don't know if i'd say music has ever changed my life in such a dramatic way.. but, it's fun, interesting, and i'm pretty good at it... employable? hmmmm. let me get back to you on that.

Jennifer said...

I'm sorry, but....theater changing people's lives? Yeah, I'm not so sure I'd buy into that either. I've known people that are obsessed, extremely talented, in love with theater, but you can say the same for business for some people. I don't think any business professor is going to go all la-di-da, give me your life changing story on their students.

Maybe this just says something about the general personality traits needed for such a devotion to theater.