Production Articles PrevNext

Back on Board

posted on February 8th, 2017 by Ziggy Schulting

Skidmore Theater Welcomes Juniors Back from Around the World

BY ZIGGY SCHULTING ’18

After faithfully dedicating two years to the Skidmore Theater Department and upstate New York, many junior theater majors fled to study theater around the world. Skidmore’s theater majors often decide to spend their first semester junior year studying theater more intensively in a conservatory off-campus, in Waterford, CT; Italy; London; Ireland; and Russia. Since their arrival back on campus, I had a chance to ask four of them some questions about what propelled them to study theater abroad and then come back home.


NICOLA CITERA – MOSCOW ART THEATER SEMESTER (MATS) with NTI (NATIONAL THEATER INSTITUTE) 


Why did you choose this program? 

The work I saw from the students who had done this program both confused me and piqued my interest. After doing a sample workshop at Skidmore with NTI, trying Droznin movement, I was really interested in discovering what makes the theater in Russia so special.

What’s different about theater in Russia? 

Going to the theater is a part of daily life for Muscovites regardless of age or social class. The state funding renders tickets affordable, and the repertory system allows shows to stay up for years on end, meaning everyone gets exposure to the best productions.

What’s the benefit of choosing to go abroad specifically to study theater? 

Getting to study at the Moscow Art Theater as an American student is truly a privilege. You get the same training that thousands of Russian students compete for each year. The students are friendly and interaction with them brings perspective on theater globally.

Anything else to add? 

If anyone is curious about doing this program feel free to reach out to me! I’d be happy to discuss my experience and answer any questions.

Nicola Citera ’18 (third in from the left) with peers in the Moscow Art Theater School Building

 


KARA POWELL – LONDON THEATER PROGRAM at BADA (BRITISH AMERICAN DRAMA ACADEMY) 


Why did you choose this program? 

I didn’t want to go to conservatory for college because I have so many different interests, so I thought being at BADA would be a good experience, since it was acting conservatory, but for just a semester.

What’s different about theater in London/England? 

Theater in London is actually relatively cheaper than theater in New York. I was able to see a lot of shows, some with my program, and then plenty of others with my friends. I even got a few decent student discounts.

What was an advantage of studying theater abroad? 

I think that because I was in a different place studying theater, I was more open to seeing shows that I might have steered clear of, partly because I wanted to spend time with my friends, and partly because I didn’t go to London to just sit in the house and watch Netflix. I got to see David Bowie’s musical Lazarus, because my roommate entered a lottery for 15-pound, front-row tickets, which was super cool.

So now, tea and a crumpet or coffee and a bagel? 

Oh jeez, coffee and a bagel.

Skidmore Theater Student in London

Kara Powell ’18 in a production of Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest at BADA. Photograph: Simon Annand

 


ANABEL MILTON – GAIETY SCHOOL OF ACTING in DUBLIN, IRELAND 


Why did you choose this program? 

I had always been so intrigued about Ireland and Irish theater and culture, especially because the country is built on a history associated with so much storytelling, folklore, and performance. I loved the idea of getting to experience theater in a place where stories and make-believe are truly the cornerstones of the people and the country, especially during such a challenging time in Europe’s history so soon after Brexit.

What’s different about theater in Ireland? 

Dublin in particular is an incredible place to experience theater because the city is so centralized and inundated with arts communities and historical theaters and performance spaces already. Not to mention how many young playwrights and actors make up Ireland’s population! We were fortunate enough to frequent the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theater, sometimes for the first previews of new premiering developments. Irish theater can be a lot more daring than American theater. The plays we saw just always seemed to have such a clear grasp of the realities faced by the Irish, often to the point of grit and painful honesty, touching upon such prevalent issues as drug use, politics and history, homelessness, and mental illness.

What’s the benefit of choosing to go abroad specifically to study theater? 

Dublin is an intensely artistic city and I felt so lucky to be immersed in its vibrancy and day-to-day expression. Street performers, local public choirs, and musicians seemed to be on every corner and in every pub, so it really felt like there was never a moment when I wasn’t experiencing theater in some form, even outside the conservatory structure of the program.

Anabel Milton ’18 listens intently at Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland

 


MIRA KLEIN – ACCADEMIA DELL’ARTE in AREZZO, ITALY 


Why did you choose this program? 

I chose ADA [Accademia dell’Arte] because I wanted to train in an area of theater that I wouldn’t normally be able to. I was scared of spending an entire semester on physical theatre. I wanted to be in a program that would truly challenge me to think not just about theater differently, but to think about myself differently.

What’s different about theater in Italy? 

My program specifically focused on Commedia dell’Arte, which is a form of Italian theatre involving masks and physical comedy that emerged in the 16th century. Commedia was different from any kind of theater in which I’ve engaged in the past because of the challenge of using a mask and still being present, expressive, and heard. It’s much harder to project from behind a mask than you would think!

What’s the benefit of choosing to go abroad specifically to study theater? 

You get the opportunity to train with new people and new teachers and to really focus on one area of theater. It’s wonderful to have many broad interests in the theater and to work on all those areas but focusing solely on acting for a semester was very enriching and reminded me why I love acting so much.

Most importantly, what’s the country’s national bird? 

According to the Internet, Italy doesn’t have a national bird, which makes sense because the Italians have better things to do. Though I would argue that the international bird of Europe is the pigeon, they are everywhere.

Mira Klein ’18 in her final commedia performance at ADA. Photograph: Chris Truini

 

Ziggy Schulting ’18 is an English//Theater double major and the Assistant Editor for the Skidmore Theater Living Newsletter.


share on