The actor within

By Saj Sri-Kumar

Before this school year, I can’t remember ever setting foot on the Rugby Auditorium stage. Until September, I had never enrolled in a performing or visual arts class at the Upper School, coming very close to not finishing my graduation requirement.

Today, however, I find myself spending more time in Rugby than I’m spending in any one of my academic classes. What happened? Call it my own version of senioritis.

Going into September, I thought that first semester of senior year would be live up to its reputation: a stressful few months filled with nothing besides trying to get myself into college. That’s not how it turned out.

Senioritis usually entails slacking off due to the decreased pressure of second semester. College applications and transcripts have been submitted and grades lose significance beyond a student’s own pride.

Even though it was extremely tempting to phone in my schoolwork for the rest of the year, I used my newfound free time and effort to explore new pursuits outside of the classroom.

At the beginning of the year, I enrolled in Technical Theater, initially because I thought it was a convenient way to fulfill my requirement. Fairly quickly, I stopped treating it as a means to an end and instead found myself enjoying the hands-on work that became a welcome diversion from my academic classes.

When February came around, I auditioned for the Playwrights’ Festival and was cast in one of the one-act plays. All of a sudden, I’m now spending a significant portion of my day in performing arts.

Has the shift been a little jarring? In some ways, yes. The most common response when people found out that I was cast in a play was not “Congratulations!” but rather “Wait, you’re actually acting?” There are still moments during rehearsal when I realize what I’m doing and laugh to myself.

In addition to providing a fun activity, acting has changed my outlook on school. Rather than following the monotonous schedule of hours of school followed by hours of homework (and, if I’m lucky, a few hours of sleep), I now have time carved into my day where my mind is able to completely forget about schoolwork.

When I was signing up for classes last year, I was groaning when trying to figure out how to fulfill my art requirement. There were so many classes in my established interests that I wanted to take but couldn’t take because I had to sign up for an art class. I tried to see if I could somehow pass off working on a newspaper as a visual art (it didn’t work out). Looking back, I’m glad the school forced me to take an art class.