Students Return from NYC Museum Reading

September 22, 2010

Theater Students Bound for NYC

Theater Professor Dwight Watson and four Wabash students have returned to campus after presenting a reading Wednesday night at the American Museum in New York City.

Professor Watson’s students presented dramatic readings from original diaries featured in the Race to the End of the Earth exhibition at the museum. The program was held in the Kaufmann Theater at the American Natural History Museum. 

The New York gathering has drawn the attention of many around the world. Check out this story on the "Our Amazing Planet" website.

See photos from Wednesday here. See photo album from Tuesday here.
Alex Moseman, an original cast member of Wabash's production of Terra Nova, is on the trip and documenting it with photos and video. 
Gus McKinney '12 - Before I get too far ahead of myself to otherwise point out, I think it necessary to say that I am extremely grateful to Wabash College and the appropriate faculty involved, Dwight Watson and the rest of the theater department, my peers who were involved in the trip and those involved in our production of Terra Nova last year, and our contacts with the Norwegian Consulate and the American Museum of Natural History for providing the opportunity to undergo this trip. That being said, I will endeavor to tell of the most delicious tidbits of my perhaps not-so-reliable memory of the events which I experienced firsthand in New York City.

It is my hope that plenty has already been written on the first day, so my points will be brief. We arrived in New York City, we took a bus, we took the subway to our hotel, then ate a fun little deli with a charming waiter who competed for table’s attention with a less than charming waiter (who I am sure was very capable of being charming if he put his mind to it). Afterwards we wandered the city a bit, checked out the “Race to the End of the Earth” exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, then checked into our hotel and wandered off again into Times Square/The Theater District to see Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. The show was beautifully executed in many different ways. Afterwards we ate some very fine Mexican dishes and trekked back to the hotel for some much needed sleep. A completely unrelated point, someone at some point in the day spoke the words “trash can” and I heard “trash kitten,” and thus a legend was born. I will speak no longer on trash kitten.

The highlight of the following day was certainly our performance at the American Museum of Natural History. As we slowly plodded through our dress and non-dress rehearsals, it slowly dawned on me that the performance was looming over our small band. It is somewhat difficult for me to say what it was like to read excerpts from the journal of Robert Falcon Scott in front of three modern day polar explorers. Whatever the verdict might have been off of the stage, they were certainly very complimentary. Sitting alongside of explorers who had proven their worth out in some of the most extreme parts of the world made me feel as though I was sitting in the presence of giants (as cliché as that sounds). I suppose you could say we were like Little Giants among giants. At any rate the show ended before too long and we were set loose on the city once more only to find that it had begun to rain, whereupon a series of unexplainable and truthfully uninteresting events began to unfold. What is more, I eventually became aware of the length of this post and how it began to spill well beyond the bounds of the first page.

Raynor Mendoza '13 -  It seems almost a surreal feeling being in New York City. Coming from a small rural town like Crawfordsville, one can’t help but to feel the grandeur that cities like New York offers. I can’t also help but to feel like we just arrived here, even though we are almost at the end of our journey in the big city. It is a strange feeling, being in a place where there are so many things to do, but not having the ability or time in a day to complete them all. I think it is safe to say that NYC is far too big of a city to explore and roam around endlessly for only two nights, one needs at least a month

This has been my second trip to NYC but in every way possible it has been the best. Five years ago, being the pubescent child that I was, I was forced around New York City to all the sights like some fat gawking tourist in cargo shorts and a Hawaiian t-shirt disrupting the natural order of things. Being ignorant that was the most fun that I had ever had on a school trip until now. All those years it wasn’t possible to see NYC for what it really was a city. New York City as cliché as it sounds, is a beast that lives and breathes as we do. It demands to be explored and ultimately conquered. It is hard to describe it but I feel as though my time here has allowed me to see the inner working of the city itself, see how it breathes and thrives. Experience its culture.

The educational aspect was also amazing. To see the amount of people who were interested in the exhibit and the overall atmosphere of scholars and intellectuals was very refreshing. Both of the actors put in countless hours of hard work and preparation in order to have a flawless performance, which was well received by the intellectual community. All of this made all of the extra work and preparation worth it. There is a certain humbling feeling that one gets upon seeing all that we have done contribute to someone else’s education.

All and all the trip was fun and well worth it. My group and professor Watson enjoyed running all over New York City seeing sights and enjoying ourselves to some delicious food. New York is truly the city that never sleeps.

Adam Phipps '10 - Three days in New York City is twenty-seven days too short for a first-time visit
My initial sight of the Big Apple came as a bird’s-eye-view from the Boeing 717. An array of miniature model replicas, seemed the Manhattan skyline at that height. I remember commenting on human nature at the sight: “building, progressing, the dreams of man.” My train of thought, typical of getting less than five hours of sleep the night before.
The experience of a New York deli awaited for lunch. Noting the similarity in price, I bypassed the usual Coke for Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry Soda – a brand since 1864. It complemented my turkey-pastrami-cole slaw triple decker on rye quite nicely. Not to undermine the service in light of the excellent taste, our waiter proved lively and comical – “another actor,” commented Professor Watson.
And then the Museum. We were introduced to the program director, upon which he led us to our “small” space – a theater slightly larger than, but not unlike, Salter Hall, seating more than 150 people. To heighten this daunting figure was the possibility of UN representatives in the audience for our reading – pressure has a funny way of edging into any performance at the last second.
Race to the End of the Earth – the Museum’s exhibit concerning Scott and Amundsen’s voyages to the South Pole – provided an atmospheric angle to my understanding of my role. Diffused blue lighting, the chilled temperature of the room, and ambient sounds of Antarctic travel pervaded the senses and struck the appropriate tones for an actor who has prepared his character for no longer than two and a half weeks.
Following a welcome return to the hotel for a necessary catnap, a Broadway musical and dinner acted as a capstone to my first day in NYC. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson entertained and surprised efficiently for a 90-minute one-act, and provided long discussion after dinner. But I have skipped an important artifact of today’s adventure: marinated chicken breast in pico de gallo, exquisite guacamole dips, and a cerveca activated by a slice of lime. No wonder our conversation was so stimulating.
A late evening walk of Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and the UN building completed the night. And yet I must quote Amundsen here, to express my anxiety over tomorrow’s performance as well as not to forget Wabash, the place which has made this trip possible: “We agreed that it was good…but still better at home.”


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