November 11, 2012

And the Madness continues

With what seemed like a large portion of the northern east coast in chaos, petty confrontation still managed to arise in my college community. In the time that we didn’t have power I had a confrontation with an employee at Wawa. After the hurricane had passed, my friends and I decided to go out for Halloween. After being cooped up in the apartment, we figured why not.

After leaving the local hangout, Milos, I stood outside talking to my friend with a cup of ice. She proceeded to go into Wawa to get food while I continued talking to my other friends outside. After some time had passed, I decided to go check on her. I walked into the busy Wawa and two workers started yelling. Finally, they yelled “cup out.” Frustrated that they were yelling at me over a cup of ice and with no trashcan in sight, I put it on the counter and they continued to yell. So I picked it up, walked out the door and tossed it. I came back into Wawa to check on my friend and the employee got in my face and told me to get out! Confused, I left with one of my other friends. We waited outside for our other friend to get her food and then the police came. The man behind the counter called the police on me and told them I was being belligerent and that I was causing a ruckus in Wawa. When the police questioned me they saw that I was completely sober and just asked that I wouldn’t enter the establishment for the remainder of the evening. I told them that I wasn’t planning on it, that I was waiting for a friend because I can’t get into my building without her.

Now I understand that everyone was on edge, due to all the aftermath of the hurricane, but there was no need to call the police. Especially since their services need to be utilized for important issues. Not a lie–a cup of ice. I’ve seen a lot of incidents take place in Wawa and the workers do not call the authorities. As I told the officers, I am at fault for throwing the cup of ice outside but that’s it.  I should have just walked all the way out to find a trashcan. However, I didn’t injure anyone or cause a ruckus. I even left when they rudely told me to get out.

So I contemplated why me and I couldn’t figure out if it was because they were just on edge and I was the straw that broke the camel’s back or if it was race related. Either way I contacted Public Safety as well as Resident Life to put this incident on file and told them that I felt as though I deserved an apology.

Interestingly enough, my incident stirred up a lot of talk in the Easton community. The next week I went out and the bouncer from the bar as well as the bar owner wanted to know what happened and if I was okay. Again I explained the situation, admitted my fault of the evening and how I felt. Due to my incident, the bouncer will now be working at the bar and Wawa to ensure everyone, workers and students, are safe and to be damage control. A worker from Wawa also pulled me aside to see if I was okay and explain his coworker’s point of view. I told all of them that I understand; however, I don’t feel comfortable going in Wawa until we discuss the issue with the people who were involved.

I don’t want to cause trouble or have anyone with ill feelings towards me. Then that night even one of my friends who was with me the day of the incident went into Wawa and said that one of the workers was giving her dirty looks.  I just find that unnecessary.

The bouncer also told me that he would help arrange a meeting between the two workers from Wawa and me. It was still nice to have support from everyone. As I told everyone, I will not go into Wawa until I get an apology because this situation was completely blown out of proportion and fault rests on both sides.

I honestly believe that this will get cleared up very soon though.

In other news, on Friday afternoon, just as i was packing my bags to go home, the power magically returned. I immediately received a text message from the stage manager that our open dress rehearsal was that evening. As excited as I was, I was also a tad upset because I wanted to go home and be with my mom who was returning from London. With bronchitis setting in all I could do was take some medicine and my inhaler and hope for the best.

Sadly, every bit of physical movement made me cough. The awkward part of the day was that a portion of our cast had gone home. I think I became my character that day because I was the mother hen calling everyone to check where they were, to see if I could help and basically trying to pull the show together. Luckily, my friend Patrick Grundy, who took a bus home early that morning, was able to take the gas out of his snow blower to put into his car so that he could make it back in time for the open dress rehearsal.  Apparently, he had only been home for an hour, which gave him enough time to be warm and eat mac and cheese.

When it was time for the dress, we had maybe ten people in the audience. We were also under staffed when it came to the stage crew. For those of you who don’t know, there are tons of props and it takes a lot of manpower to get the backstage together in a timely and efficient manner. Still, for being the first time we ran the entire show without stopping we did fairly well.

In saying that, tons of things went wrong! Lines were dropped and at one point one of my cast members who got confused in the chaos looked at me and mouthed the phrase, “Where are we? Save me?” Fortunately, this was in act two so the stage was turned and you couldn’t see us because we were panicking to the point all I could do was laugh in silence. In my head I was like, “just say your line, what am i supposed to do, WHYYYYYY?” Not sure where we were or which actions the cast was performing in the audience’s view, I went along and said my line. Luckily, everyone managed to scramble and work it out. Afterwards we realized that she jumped a line because one of the actors had not made his entrance. These are the memories I will cherish, haha.

The next night, we called an early rehearsal to run act two. Thankfully, it went very well as did the show that evening. We’d upped the audience count by 10 or 15 and they just laughed the whole way through. The energy that was on the stage was great. The best thing was that every night the show got better and better.

For me, my sickness was taking a huge toll. To the point where I was having cough attacks backstage and eventually on stage. All of the running was affecting my breathing. I thought I wasn’t going to make it. Still, I stayed in character and kept going.

Night after night, the audience grew and the word was spreading around campus. The reviews for our performance were phenomenal. I have still yet to find one person who didn’t enjoy it and who didn’t laugh the whole time. When we went into the lobby, after the show, different people informed us that their stomachs were in pain from all the laughter and some individuals even continued to say that they almost peed their pants.  Some people even managed to see the show over and over again.

I think the best part of the audience’s response was that they forgot about us as their peer students. They didn’t see me as Brandi but as Belinda and Flavia. When they congratulated us and told us how they felt about the show it was about our characters. As a cast we accomplished the goal of immersing ourselves into our characters and giving the audience a special experience.

I literally walked away from the last show so grateful and thankful for what I do. There is nothing like performing. Better yet, there’s no better feeling than leaving it all on the stage and giving the audience an experience they’ll never forget. Hard work definitely pays off, and this extremely challenging show was proof.

Belinda attempts to get the wrongly placed sardines off the stage

Even more, our show was recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for a Certificate of Merit for directing to MIchael O’Neil, Certificate of Merit for Technical Direction to Zach Tysinger, and Stage Managing. In addition, Nikelia Haines, Patrick Grundy, Devon Thorsell and I were nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting Competition.  Nikelia and I will be going and Patrick and Devon are our alternates. Being a great opportunity, it will be an even greater challenge because most students who compete have been preparing for this competition since the beginning of the semester. I also found out that we have to find a partner that currently attends Lafayette to go with us. I’m not going to stress but I need to get a move on things.

Now that the show over, I can finally casually walk places. It feels great to stroll around. Academically and work-wise, I’m in the middle of what feels like a hurricane. My professors have been trying to cram everything in at once because they are trying to catch up to the syllabus. This madness is driving me insane. Once again, I have back to back midterms and papers due. Tuesday could potentially be the death of me.

It is also Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and my team for work is running it. Since we are hosting multiple events every day I will be running around making sure everything runs smoothly. But everyone should come to the events! Monday, we kick off the week with a movie called The Line! The Line documents the stories of people across the country living at or below the poverty line. They have goals. They have children. They work hard. They are people like you and me. Across America, millions are struggling every day to make it above “The Line.” It is only 45 minutes and there well be two showings, 12pm and 7pm in Hugel 103.  Be informed, thankful and grateful.

Until next time… :)

posted in Brandi Porter

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