For one show only, Emily loves herself some Hot Topic.
I could write many posts about my most recent trip to Worcester, but for now I'll stick to the main reason why I headed out to Central Mass this past Saturday night. Maybe if I am in need of a reason to blog, I'll discuss my other Worcester things.
My very dear friend Emily Rast, a very talented young actor who is clearly going places in this world, presented her Fenwick Friday and Saturday night at HC. She wrote a one-woman show that explored the ideas of the female ingenue in musical theatre and some characters who break out of that mold, as well as why it's important to have this archetype.
I guess now I should explain what the Fenwick is. So at HC, they select 1-3 students every year to write a 200-page thesis their senior year. They don't take classes, but instead focus their entire academic year writing this paper. Then in the spring, they present their paper in Smith Library. Their paper is also published and kept in the library, and their names are engraved on a plaque in the library. My friend Tim was one of the three my senior year. It's rare they select one that focuses on the arts, so I'm thrilled they picked Emily.
The show was free, and lasted a little under an hour. I was joking with Joan, my college boss and "college mom" that it was nice to just show up on campus and not have to worry about reservations. A nice little mini-reunion, since several people who were theatre majors during my tenure there also came on campus to see the show.
The show focuses on Rachel, an 18-year-old aspiring performance artist back for her first Thanksgiving break from college. Her mother is a famous musical theatre actor, and she tries very hard to rebel against her job and everything her art stands for: the female ingenue. They are unrelatable, out of touch with reality, boring, and just not something she wants. Rachel, with the help of some of musical theatre's most iconic characters and songs, explore this concept as well as some characters who break out of this mold.
Emily wrote this piece, and I was very impressed by it. Smart, witty, and something many can relate to, even if not in the theatre world. Wanting to make a place for oneself in the world, heartbreak, family, rebellion, and lonliness were all addressed. I know near the end Emily was feeling some significant stress regarding this piece, but I think a year of stress and hard work paid off tenfold.
Rage-chel Against the Machine was directed by another classmate of mine, Eric Butler '06. He's directed Emily in Pal Joey, Sweet Charity, and The Women, if not more pieces. This duo works very well together, and I think this was a nice swan song for them, as Emily is moving to Maine and then Upstate New York after graduating.
So a big congrats to Emily for a great project. You always amaze me.