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Life in the Real World

Thursday, July 28, 2011
Life in the Real World

There is college. And then there is the real world. Some MTD students and alumni have been out and about this summer sampling life beyond the OU campus. Here are some of their stories:

Allie McCaw
Allie, a Musical Theatre major, writes “I have been at a camp called Acting Manitou . . . Maine is incredibly beautiful and I am having a great time. This camp is run by professional actors, directors, and designers (most of whom are from NYC) and is for kids ages 11-17. The amount of talent and passion for theatre here is absolutely inspiring, and I am so happy to be able to share in it. In addition to normal 'counselor-type duties', I lead voice and body warm-ups every morning, and I had the opportunity to teach a workshop (Acting the Song) as well as work on one of the five productions the camp puts up. Mine is Haroun and the Sea of Stories. It's been great that I've been able to use (or shamelessly steal) all the things I've learned from my professors at OU in some capacity here. I can't wait to come back in the fall and share the joy of theatre that these children have infused in me!”

Kayt MacMaster
Kayt, a dance major, has just finished teaching yoga at the Great Lakes Dance Festival, but before that she was traveling, thanks to a Maggie Allesee Summer Study Scholarship. Kayt writes, “I just returned from 3 weeks in the Volta region of Ghana studying African culture through the arts. We spent every day dancing, drumming, and singing. We had opportunities to go to a traditional Ghanaian shrine, work with the National Dance Company of Ghana and the National Theatre Company of Ghana. We spent days in villages with families and attended a traditional festival.” Discussing why she made the trip and how it has impacted her approach to dance Kayt says, “I decided to make this journey mainly out of curiosity. I have always believed and been taught that dance is a form of communication that knows no language barrier. I also wanted to believe that dance serves a purpose beyond entertainment . . . something spiritual and universal that everyone is a part of, not just ‘dancers.’ I always had my mind set on moving to New York City and doing ‘the dance thing’ when I graduated. If nothing else, this trip taught me that the world is a lot bigger than NYC. In Ghana I experienced dance as a form of celebration, spiritual healing, an expression of mourning, a form of storytelling and historical transcribing, and a form of community-oriented recreation. Everyone from children . . . to old people maintained a form of physical expression. [In Ghana] there are dancers and dance companies . . . but everyone is inclined to move and dance and express themselves physically. Mass participation seemed to make every dance more successful.”

Kryssy Becker
Kryssy, a recent theatre grad, is living her dream. Here she writes from the heart and tells it ‘ like it is,’ while at the same time observing her employer’s strict secrecy policy. “Working in Entertainment at Walt Disney World has been full of magic and adventure, but it's definitely hard work! [and it ] sometimes feels a little surreal. Part of working in Entertainment means protecting character integrity, so I can't divulge too much information. But I spend my days hanging out with . . .Chip and Dale, usually at Future World in EPCOT, but . . . some of my favorite shifts have been the Tomorrowland Dance Parties, where there is a live DJ and characters . . . come out to dance with kids. This shift is fun, but very challenging, as it obviously gets very hot for the furry critters while they're dancing, and this is one location where they are not allowed to sign autographs or pose for pictures. Guests often don't understand this.” Kryssy continues, “As many may imagine, this job is hot and physically exhausting. When I wasn't working during my first few weeks, I was sleeping. Okay, or playing in the parks. Come on; it's free admission! I will admit that I had a few days of, ‘why am I here?’ Sign an autograph, pose for a picture, repeat. Then I had a day where my partner . . . and I really stepped up our game and I remembered, oh yeah! I am acting. It may not be . . . Shakespearean drama, but when I really let go and had fun with the role instead of thinking about how hot I was and when my next break would be, I had a blast and made truly magical moments for guests. I found myself more energized . . . and I'm excited to announce that this week I will get to hang out with everyone's favorite cowgirl, Jessie from the Toy Story movies! With the relief of finally feeling love for my job comes the excitement for what's to come. At the end of my program I can begin auditioning for the stage musicals that perform every day at the parks, as well as the Disney Cruise Line. As much as I love my little critters, I am looking forward to the opportunity to sing and speak again! That's what's great about this program; there is always opportunity for something different. And there are so many goals to be set, it's impossible not to be excited. So here I am, one month in and six months to go, and I am excited for more magical moments and more opportunities to advance in the most magical place on Earth.”

Trevor Critchett
Trevor, a Music Education major, may well be equally reflective about his recent experiences, but he is so busy that he has no time to communicate his thoughts. Contacted for an update on his summer so far, Trevor sent back an automatically generated email which read, “Sorry I won't be able to get back to you in a timely manner. I am spending my summer touring with the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. I will get back to you as soon as I can though . . . Thank you for understanding.”

We do understand Trevor. Make the most of this time!

Photo: Kayt MacMaster in Ghana