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STUDENT LIFE

R E T A E H T T H G I L

T O P S R O I N SE

CT E J O R P R NIO E S S ' L H E N DI E L L E D ET AN H C O R L RACHE BY KAITLIN MERLINO

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usical theatre major Rachel Rochet and theatre major Ellen Diehl have been preparing for their senior projects, which will be performed via livestream on Nov. 20 and 21 at 8 p.m.

Diehl seeks to shine a light onto musical theatre icon Julie Andrews, focusing on the relationship between her and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton.

“I had the idea a year or two ago on the topic of the separation between the sciences and the arts,” Rochet said. “It’s evolved a little since then, but I noticed we kind of have this polarizing mentality of the arts and sciences.”

“The premise is that they are writing Julie’s memoir together and, through the writing process, it brings up memories,” Diehl said. “It brings them back to when Emma was a child and her memory of different experiences, and Julie sharing her side of it.”

The theatre department as a whole has been a great rock for these students to lean on, since creating an entire show can be an intimidating experience.

With a working title, “Where the Apple Falls: A Julie Andrew Story,” Diehl pieced together melodic tunes and upbeat dances that flow into the theme of daughters and mothers.

“It’s almost like a baby bird in the nest just being flung out to see if it flies,” Rochet said. “But I think our professors trust that we have the framework of knowledge; we just need that initiative to try it.”

Though both shows play on the same nights, each project proved unique to the creators and each student encountered different processes when creating her work.

Walking away from this experience, they both feel a boost of confidence in their abilities as actors and creators.

Rochet sees things differently. In her Cabaret-style show, she hopes to make connections between the arts and its cousin departments, from science to history, showing that painting and drawing aren’t the only creative outlets a person has access to. “All of the songs and monologues focus around the theme of ‘what defines art and who is an artist?” Rochet said. In the time of COVID-19, Rochet sees the need for this concept as a vital thread that connects us all. “With all the debates about which careers are essential and which are non-essential, there's a lot of tension, and a lot of people feel like their vocation is considered more or less important than others,” Rochet said.

“One thing that’s been challenging during this process is the planning end, having to put the whole thing together and figure out the timeline for myself,” Rochet said. After taking advantage of a quarantined summer to research, creating a document full of excerpts from interview transcripts and Andrew’s actual memoir, Diehl sought

to clean up her script during the school year. “I had a really long script with lots of stories, and it’s been stripping away what’s not necessary through the process of blocking,” Diehl said.

“So often someone has to give actors a role. This is a way for us to create something for ourselves and claim, ‘Yes, I can do this,’” said Diehl. “It’s ok to try things and put work out there,” Rochet said. “You can’t control how people will receive it, but all you can do is put out the work that you have created and that you believe in, knowing that that should be enough.”

THE SWINGING BRIDGE

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