August 23, 2012
A New Perspective on Theater
It has been been about a week since I ended my journey in Arvin and even though I am ecstatic to be home, I cannot help but miss the daily craziness of working at Cornerstone as a costume intern for the Institute Summer Residency in Arvin.
When I flew out to California, I had no idea how inspiring this experience would be to my life. I also had no idea that Cornerstone Theater Company is such a dynamic theater company that truly does change the lives of those involved.
I thought I was just going to Arvin to sew some costumes and learn more about sewing, but I learned more than that. I learned about going into a community and gaining their trust and showing them that they are talented.
I think that the children and teens involved in this production got the most out of this experience. Some of them never thought they could act or have a reason to continue their education, but now they hope to go to college and even study drama and that is truly amazing. All they needed was a chance on stage, a single line in the play, to see their potential.
Furthermore, through this experience, I realized the importance of doing influential work in society.
Meghan Healey, FLOR’s Costume Designer, said something that really stuck with me. She said, and I paraphrase, that designing and theater is not just about putting something pretty on stage, it’s about starting needed conversations in communities.
You can’t change the world with a single play, but you can at least prompt the conversation.
In Veterans’ Hall at Adobe Plaza there was a list the students made that consisted of the different types of communities they would like to work with. Throughout the month, we had many meetings in that space and I found myself rereading the list over and over again and wondering which group I would also like to work with.
Even though it was not specifically listed, I decided that I want to work with teens, adults, and anyone with low self-esteem due to media influence.
Growing up is not easy. Looking at yourself in the mirror everyday and being disappointed is a common problem in our society. I want to help people feel confident, beautiful, and comfortable in their own skin.
This realization has made me even more excited to continue my education in design and has pushed me to find groups that want to accomplish the same goals.
Like I said before, when I got on a plane to go to California, I thought I was just going to do some intensive sewing projects, but I left Arvin with a new perspective on theater and what I can accomplish through community interactions.
And a big thank you to those who helped me get to Arvin, those whom I met in Arvin, those who supported me during my time in Arvin, and the community of Arvin. You are all wonderful<3
Chelsea M. Weiss, originally from Pennsylvania, is a junior at Queens College in New York. She thanks costume designer, Meghan Healey, for bringing her to Arvin and for being a patient mentor to her.
Click here to visit Chelsea’s blog and to find out more about her experience this summer in Arvin.