In theater at Putney, interests and passions merge. Theater here immerses students in dance, drama, music, visual arts, athleticism, literature and history. It gives them philosophical and psychological awakenings. So studying theater here is not just about edging people out for the good roles. Yes, there are some great roles to be had. We do Shakespeare, Greek theater, modern theater, farces, comedy, tragedy, and musical comedy. But, here at Putney, studying theater involves appreciating the play, learning about its period and politics, moving one’s body, and supporting each other in the scary task of taking risks.
My classes and auditions are open to every student on campus. Because of this, ‘risk-taking’ is a far more vital concept than ‘talent.’ A star soccer player may not believe that he has acting talent; he may know, though, that he is a risk-taker at heart, and from this he may understand that he can brave his way into exploring all of the possibilities of a role. I expect each one of my students to bring to rehearsal or class a measure of courage. Without it, why bother?