Wednesday, November 9, 2011

57. Top 10 Things I Love About YALE

"Most people are mirrors, reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows, bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows." - Sydney J. Harris, journalist & author (1917 - 1986)

Oh, YALE... How I love you?... Let me count the ways... Let's start with 10 (in no particular order):

1. James Bundy, Dean of Yale School of Drama and Artistic Director of Yale Repertory Theatre, is a great man. I went to the Yale visitor's day last week and got to hear Mr. Bundy speak about the school. He is soooo passionate about training the next generation of American theatre professionals. It's awesome. AND He's got an inspirational personal story of applying to Yale twice as an actor before finally being accepted the third time when he applied as a director... Cut to now... He's the DEAN. Now THAT's persistence! Way to go, James Bundy! And congrats on receiving the John Houseman Award!

2. Ron Van Lieu is a legend amongst acting teachers and just a genuinely down-to-earth human being. I love hearing him talk about acting because he's so unpretentious about it all. He approaches it with a sense of play and curiosity. And TCG did this AMAZING interview with him that I strongly encourage you to check out. He really gets into his whole philosophy of teaching. Very cool.

3. Being in New Haven... It's close enough to New York to be accessible, but far enough away from New York that you have a nice little cushion of space. And as a graduate actor who will be taking risks and learning and growing in starts and fits... I think it might be nice to feel like I'm far enough away from the "industry microscope" (a.k.a. NYC) that I can feel free to grow at my own pace without the pressure of being in the thick of "the business." School is about LEARNING... There will be plenty of time after graduation to get cozy with "the business."

4. The Yale Cabaret is an amazing outlet for students. You can work at the Yale Cabaret in any discipline... meaning... Actors can direct, playwrights can act, dramaturgs can design, designers can stage manage... You name it!!! You just need to apply to the board/artistic staff, which is student run, and BAM! You're in the season and you're producing your own work. SUPER. FREAKIN'. COOL.

5. The Financial Aid package at Yale cannot be beat... And as someone who is still paying-off my undergraduate student loans... this is a hugely attractive benefit of attending Yale. How wonderful would it be to launch back out into the world with an MFA from a top-tier school and under $10,000 in student loan debt? That is actually POSSIBLE at Yale. True story.

6. The Yale campus is BEAUTIFUL. I love the architecture. It'd be like going to school at Hogwarts. ((((LOVE)))).

7. The collaborative focus at Yale is incredibly inspiring and attractive. There are students studying at Yale Drama across all disciplines and you're all working together... collaborating... learning... being mentored... establishing creative ties. It's brilliant!!! So when you graduate you've got a whole network of people in your back-pocket who are... A. Super talented, B. Trained, C. Speak your language, D. You already know you can trust, E. You love to work with... How could that not be a great foundation for establishing life-long creative collaborations that will lead to great work!!!

8. Jo Jo's Coffee is my "go-to" hang-out every time I am in New Haven. Just love the vibe in there. Many a journal-entry has been penned at that fine establishment. Thanks, Jo Jo's.

9. James Franco is a student at Yale University. That guy is insanely ambitious and just plain insane. Love him!

10. Working with pros at the Yale Rep would be such a treat! Also, Yale Rep does a lot of co-productions with my home-town-hero-favorite-CA-regional-theatre... Berkeley Rep!  Sooooo many great new works are premiering at these places! Love that!

There are many, many more reasons that Yale Drama is an awesome place to be, but these were the first 10 that came to mind this morning... so that's whatcha get.

I mean, the fact that places like Yale and NYU and Juilliard even EXIST... where you can go and study theatre for 3 or 4 years and walk out of there with a whole-lotta amazing experiences and new relationships under your belt... Wowzers! It's so wonderful! Who wouldn't want to be a part of it? Clearly, I would... And hopefully, come 2012... I will.

Loves to you all,

"We are usually convinced more easily by reasons we have found ourselves than by those which have occurred to others." - Blaise Pascal, Philosopher & Mathematician (1623-1662)

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