Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Intern Spotlight: Charlotte Drover

This week, BST spotlights our Production Intern Charlotte Drover!  Charlotte is a senior at Drew University with a focus in Theatre and Middle Eastern Studies.

In my overactive imagination, I've always fancied myself a xenophile wanderlust Queen: I conquered the world's most temperamental volcano in Sicily, dabbled in Arabic in high school, harboured a rather conspicuous obsession with India, and left my heart and soul in Londontown. I first learned of Bond Street Theatre's fascinating method through my mentor and friend Olivia Harris and readied myself to join with this creative force. My first toe-dip into the vast ocean of applied theatre began my sophomore year with the Drew University -- Marion Bolden Center Collaboration with Newark high school students. I concluded the semester and second Collaboration year with a growing storm of questions to bring to BST: 
What are their international collaborations like? What challenges do they face? How do they overcome those? How can I absorb this as an applied theatre facilitator-to-be? 
Learning the ropes her first time up.

When I began my first day at BST, Joanna and Michael bounced to greet me with spritely enthusiasm, an eagerness to teach, and Afghan pistachios. They nourished my curiosity of stilt walking, flag twirling, acrobatics, and the dynamics of a physical theatre stage picture. My dance and theatre background enriched, I have learned so much in this whirligig of a dramaturgical and production internship and specified my preference of production execution. 

From Day 1, I was enamoured by the work I was fortunate to do, obnoxiously gushing to my NYC friends and NH family about my assignments. I devour my work: researching the reality of the Afghan woman and her nation's progress towards equality, investigating the horrid detriments of the 1984 Bhopal gas explosion and cataloging the images, video and data which illuminate the disaster's chronic presence for Indian citizens, and distilling the most effective means to measure the impact of theatre within a community. Delicious.

Charlotte shows off her moves!
Yet what I am really savoring is how I'm maturing into a more effective theatre practitioner. On only my second stilt lesson I decided, with a Gemini's reckless nature, to start turning, balancing on one leg, and skipping all on stilts. Two young ladies, neighbors of BST, shyly crept by Shinbone Alley and peeped out a desire to learn to do what I garishly did. Verbose reflection aside, I am really proud of the fact that I was able teach them this skill that I just acquired, and kindling their confidence and passing on the BST good mojo.

Through acrobatics workshops lead by Joanna I am more confident in my ability to articulate why I love physical theatre: its ability to use the body's specificity and eloquence to transcend the barriers of language. I direct a play by Harold Pinter, a playwright who hates language, in Spring 2013, and I will naturally adapt my learning to the production and my final year as Bolden Collaboration mentor.

The other night I cruelly tortured myself by researching what real-world, post-graduate programs in London offered degrees in applied theatre and its cost (adding a few more links to the chain of my school debt and misery). Yet I realized that it wasn't self-torment, but me solidifying my faith in the power of Applied Theatre and what I can offer that field from my BST internship. I've grown into the big girl pants of my ambition by contributing real work for my dream company.

 Although I'm no clairvoyant, I can predict this with certainty: it will be nothing short of an adventure.

The 2012 summer interns!

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