I had the honor of not only designing the posters for this performance, but also the program as you see above. In addition, I photographed the dress rehearsal (the images can be viewed below).
Miss Julie, despite the assumed innocence surrounding its name, rakes between one's ribs and skins one's humanity. It centers on a count's daughter and valet as they grapple with having slept together. Rebeca Robles depicts Miss Julie's graceful descent into insanity as the shallow honor giving her a posture of superiority is swept from beneath her feet. Meanwhile, Jean, expertly played by Alex Heath, a servant in Miss Julie's house, fluctuates between desire, power, and fear as he seeks to rise within the world and uses Miss Julie in order to perceive that he has. Brooke Butterworth, cast as Kristin, brings the strict mindset of the times to the stage. While Miss Julie is swept away with dreams of escape and happiness and Jean with ownership and power, Kristin enters to punctuate the hopelessness of their case. The count returns home and the entire play, which has been a discussion of seeking freedom, is erased as Miss Julie and Jean find themselves still unprepared to face reality. As a result, they bend to the master of fear.
This performance, done in the round, spins a magic over the audience that captivated and horrified. The script offers raw truth in regards to desire and fear presented under the guises of class and gender conflict. I have yet to encounter a play so moving as this; there is no hero or villain, only humans. If the audience attempts to judge who is right and who is wrong, they end up judging themselves.
I've posted my most recent blog post on Medium. It looks at the influence society can have over a blooming identity and how I found confidence throw growing up with a pop star.
In my recent study of British Literature, I've been confronted with the Romantics: passionate, philosophizing poets. Their concerns regarding society and the individual's heart and mind directly apply to our culture's search now for self and truth.
I took the time to collect some of the thoughts of a particular writer recently in an informal form to make the link between the past and present and further delve into my study. Please take a moment to peruse William Blake's idea to cure the chronic weariness infecting our culture.
Several months ago I submitted a brief piece to Thought Catalog. While the piece will not earn me the Nobel Prize by any stretch of the imagination, it was meant to provide peace and perhaps perspective. The ripping of a relationships is painful no matter the circumstance. However, it can, if allowed, create room for greater growth.
I'm pleased Thought Catalog chose to publish this piece. I hope it comforts those to whom it's immediately relevant.
Over the course of my existence, I've been exposed to many different institutions of learning such as private schools, community colleges, self-learning, homeschooling, community college, universities, public schools, etc.
There is one common theme that underlines every class at every school that I've witnessed: What is the take away?
I'd say homeschooling is exempt from this as the general focus in my experience was learning and discovering why what was learned was relevant and should be learned. However, specifically at my own university and the universities I've interacted with throughout summers to ensure I graduate on time with my double major, I've found the focus to be on finding the main, obvious point, and then moving on.
And while that seems like a worthy pursuit overall, I have come to resent that fact. You see, it is a result of this ambition that I've learned to skim. Yes, read at a faster pace in order, not to glean and understand, but to find the facts and move on.
I find this habit that is now engrained in myself inefficient, ineffective, and infuriating. Why? Because now, when I got read an interesting article, book, etc. that is my first instinct, to skim. In fact, it takes a great deal of work to remove myself from that mindset and read normally.
The end goal orientation of American education has gutted the love of learning and implanted a sense of "find, memorize, forget". The facts I've learned hang useless without context. I find my communications are stunted because I don't understand ideas but simply their main facts and who made them. Perhaps I can tell you the dates of Napoleon's battles. But what use is that? I can't apply his reasoning or use him as an example because I don't understand the motivation and circumstances that drove him to war. Why? Because I learned to skin.
Reading as much as fast as I could was the goal. Not exploring and understanding.
In summation, my curiosity had been killed for the sake of a syllabus.
When I studied at Oxford last summer, I saw a glimpse of hope. Each week we were given a question and a library card accessing over 11 million books. We were then told to come back with a paper and explain our conclusion. We couldn't just find some facts. We had to explore people's lives, their work, their worlds in order to understand what was happening, why, and how it has shaped society today.
I learned more in those 5 weeks than I did in 3 years at my own university. Why? Because I didn't skim. I was given time to explore, conclude, and apply.
I hope, perhaps upon graduation, I will forget this new skill of skimming. I hope it's not a permanent fixture in my mind. I hope I can train myself back into a love for reading that could devour 500 pages in a few hours. Time will tell if the change is irreversible.
So I encourage you to find where your love of learning live and feed it, encourage it, nurture it. Because it seems the system that is meant to is currently unable.