Welcome to “Kate Re-Living The Point In The Program Where She Had A Complete Breakdown And Couldn’t Handle Her Own Emotions!”
I’m your host, Kate Santos!
*80s’ game show music*
Before I get too ahead of myself, let’s take it from where I left off. We’ll do a
Previously on Writer’s Cup Of Tea:
On Wednesday, I wrote about the complete bliss and absolute joy that I was experiencing among theatre kids, for the first time in a long time. Things were going great for the first few days, and I was experiencing things in a big city that I had only ever dreamed about.
I talked about meeting my roommate and making friends, grabbing dinner and breakfast with the bunch, doing ropes courses in upstate New York, seeing broadway shows, and meeting and learning from wonderful professionals already killing it in the field.
But get ready y’all. It’s about to get real for a second.
But just like, a quick second.
After that, it’s back to the incredible experience of NSLC Theatre.
Here we go!
Ah, July 24th. A day that was both the absolute best and worst day of my life. A good half n half sweet iced tea/lemonade combo.
This day was another packed day, after half a packed week, but all of the good types of packed possible.
We had 2 main things going on in Manhattan: 1) free time to explore a certain section of the theatre district and times square. And 2) The Wednesday Matinee of To Kill A Mockingbird on Broadway.
The day started at breakfast, as the days always did, with the usual breakfast gang in the corner of the cafeteria.
By then, I had already been feeling sick, with nausea, headaches, and stuffiness of my ears, nose, and throat. Despite all of those symptoms, I genuinely felt okay. Not great, not terrible, but okay.
As soon as breakfast was over, we boarded the busses and got out, meeting by the MAJESTIC THEATER, where Phantom Of The Opera is currently in production on Broadway. We marked it as our meeting place, split up into groups, and went off to venture into the theatre district.
Last time around, when we went to go see The Play That Goes Wrong, we ate in big groups and didn’t have much time to explore because of how long we took to eat.
This time, since it was right after breakfast and we weren’t so hungry, we decided to leave lunch for later and do the exploring now. So we set about our adventure, making a quick pit stop at the MAJESTIC for Liz to reunite with her true love.
Liz Praising Phantom Photoshoot
We worked our way through the theatre district, running rampant up and down Broadway, absolutely amazed by the marquees and iconic theaters we were going past. We made it to times square and snapped our heads up in astonishment at the how bright the billboards were, even in the daylight.
Right across the street was the Disney store, where we made a straight beeline through the entrance and up the escalators to the Princess section. I bought gifts for my sisters and a backpack for myself (it was $30 total, y’all. We shopped sales this day). After, we made our way to shake shack, stopping for an impromptu photoshoot in Shubert Alley.
Me Being Weird On Shubert Alley
We then stepped into the shop on Shubert alley, where I bought a Walter Kerr postcard and bracelet for my brother. Amelia, Kyra, Kaeleigh, and Liz all bought things for themselves and their friends back home.
We made our way to lunch, and then to the theatre for a good show. I cried so hard and so much, and so did the people sitting next to me. More to come on Monday, though!
We took the bus back home and immediately jumped into a light-hearted TA meeting. We messed around more than worked and just had a good time, ending the first half of the day right.
After we had dinner, it started to go downhill.
The next thing on the agenda was another TA Meeting, where true exhaustion and emotional instability first hit me. Instead of resting and preparing for the rest of the day (which was several hours long) I pushed through the meeting and got things done. Big mistake.
We had an improv workshop with Mr. Greg Ganakas, creator of the Musical Theatre program at NYU. That’s when a headache hit, and right through pain I pushed. Multiple improv games, sessions of screaming, and beautiful monologues later, it was time to head to another TA meeting, the last thing for the day.
This is where I crashed.
Immediately after getting into the room for our meeting, I asked for a read through. Kyra, the intelligent soul that she is, tried to convince me otherwise, but stubborn and tired as I was, I basically demanded one. Ya know, like a toddler having a tantrum. Sorry, Kyra.
The read-through went…not how we imagined it to go. It put everyone in a bad mood, me especially, and stressed the hell out of both me and Kyra. It was far too much.
I took some advil and kept going, running on nothing. We tried rewrites, we tried speaking to the actors again, but nothing was working. What we really needed was some space and a nap. Maybe even some birthday cake ice cream.
So we left it alone, left it for tomorrow. At least, we tried.
When we left, we left with a mood of, “today SUCKED, but we’ll try again tomorrow.” For me, it felt like a day wasted, which is something I usually don’t mind. But that day, I did.
Back in the dorms I kicked off shoes and laid down on the bed, lipstick, mascara, and the day’s clothes on, contacts still in. I waited for a bit until Lexi came, who asked me if I was okay, which must have meant that I LOOKED rough.
I said I was fine, said goodnight, and got ready for a shower, flopping again on the bed for just a few minutes of calm before it. But, Fran came up and told me she wanted to face time Kyra becuase she had some ideas for the show, writing-wise.
Now, there are a lot of things I could say to excuse my behavior for the next few minutes. I could tell you that Kyra and I were having a hard enough time working with ONE other person for the first time and our writing process JUST became comfortable. I could mention that we had already closed the doors for other people’s ideas, beside the actors. I could say that we were tired and just needed space and blah blah blah blah blah.
But here’s the truth: It was all of those things, and the fact that being in such close quarters with the same person 24/7, inside and outside of the room, made me turn some of my anger toward her. So I was pissed, at anyone who bothered me in those few minutes I wanted before I took my shower. And instead of communicating that, I shoved it all the way down and let it bubble back up to the surface.
We face-timed her, both Kyra and I planning to just say something like “we’ll talk about this later” and hang up. But there was relentless pressure to get it done now, and the call took much longer than anticipated.
Finally, as calmed and restrained as I could, I said, “Fran, can we please talk about this later? I’m tired, and I still need to take a shower.” She started to oppose, but Kyra quickly agreed with me and we hung up quick and easy.
I grabbed my clothes and my towel, ran into the bathroom, locked the door, and collapsed onto the floor to cry. I didn’t know what it was, I just assumed that it was everything, from the time restraint for the play to not being able to just be alone because of our 16-hour day schedule. I was completely overwhelmed.
I cried and cried, and then hopped in the shower. Mid-shower, I realized I still had some sob left in me, so I grabbed the wall and gave myself a dramatic, emo moment. After I was done, I got dressed, brushed my teeth and put my headphones on.
I texted my mom and face-timed my siblings, for a short and sweet time so that I didn’t cry again. I missed them so much. Once I called them, I realized that I also missed my friends back home and decided to facetime Nat.
At first I cried and told her what I thought was wrong, but eventually, we had a conversation like we would any other time.
Once I realized that it was about 3am her time, I told her to go to bed and we said goodnight.
I set up my alarm, put headphones in, and went to sleep. I had a big day ahead of me.
When I woke up the next morning, I felt refreshed and renewed, like the weight of the world had been lifted off of my shoulders. I woke up at 6am, got dressed and ready for the day, dancing and prancing around with my headphones on before heading down to breakfast.
Green apple in hand and ice-cold water to wake me up, I told Kaeliegh, Kyra, and Liz about the previous night. We talked it out, and though I had already felt better, them telling me that they knew what I meant and letting me know that I wasn’t alone made me feel even better.
First thing on the day’s agenda was a leadership session with Jay, one of the best, most fun things I’ve ever done with these lovely people. It caught me at the best time, a moment where I was feeling especially insecure for no particular reason.
He played music and we basically danced our way down the line with friends cheering us on from the sidelines. It was super fun, and afterward, we ran to tables and wrote down positive things about ourselves on construction paper with colorful markers.
Some Of My Favorite TA Weirdos
(Joemo, Corinne, Julia, Anna V)
After that, we headed back to the train to Grand Central Station for another day at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Before we got on the train, a text containing the bios of all the actors on the panel was sent out and absolute CHAOS ensued.
I ran down the stairs, searching for a friend to freak out with and found Corinne. I’m pretty sure I said something along the lines of, “CORINNECHECKYOURPHONESANTINO FONTANAANDANALEIGHASHFORDARE ONTHEPANELOHMYGODHOLYFRICK WHATISTHEWORLD!”
The best part is, she understood right away and screamed. We stood at the bottom of the steps for quite a bit, shaking and holding hands and freaking out. We read the bios and continued to struggle to breathe.
The entire train ride there, we freaked out. The entire wait outside, we freaked out. The entire wait inside, we freaked out. Then, a few minutes before they walked in, we calmed down. Complete silence, total chill. They were just people and we were just people and we were all people. At least, that’s what we told ourselves, because as all of y’all know, they’re gods and goddesses who possess talents far out of mortal reach. Duh.
A few notes from that session:
- I was sitting five feet from Analeigh Ashford and Joe Tapper. What even?
- They were all basically talking to Corinne the whole time because Fitz is a god of remembrance and asked them to answer a question she had the last session.
- Antoinette LaVecchia is a damn legend and has a gluten allergy
- Santino Fontana said “Let it go” and we CACKLED for a solid 3 minutes.
- Champions adjust.
After that, we had lunch, immediately followed by a session with casting director Stephanie Yankwitt, who gave us the best advice and tips in terms of casting and becoming a working actor.
Before we headed out, Mr. Fitzsimmons said goodbye, because this was the last time we were coming to the Manhattan Theatre Club as an NSLC bunch. (As we were heading out I walked up to him and shook his hand to thank him for everything and surprisingly chocked up a bit.)
We took a bus back to Fordham and had dinner, and then went into a TA meeting, where everything felt and went much better. We felt more positive about things, confident in the show, and so especially grateful for our actors and fellow creative team.
We had fun for about 1 1/2 hours and then jumped into pajama trivia (my team won by a question! The scores were so close.) We had snacks, drinks, and each other to scream and cheer with.
We headed back to the dorms after and got ready for the next day. It would be the last chance for any fixes to the show before Saturday’s final presentation.
I woke up with the biggest headache known to man. Not to mention, a nose so stuffed that I couldn’t breathe, ears in need of popping, and a throat full of shredded vocal cords.
Needless to say, this was a day of suffering.
I came to breakfast late and prepared to die. I grabbed a bagel, a banana, and some tea and headed to our first scheduled activity: a workshop rotation.
My first one was with Patrick and Maddie, called Theatre Therapy. We did a few exercises surrounding the “American dream” and others meant to lift our spirits and self-esteem. It was truly wonderful and I loved it so much.
After was a TA meeting and on my way there, I grabbed a tea from Starbucks where I ran into Alex. We talked for a bit and I asked him if there was a way to get DayQuil or something and he said that he would. (Shout out to you, girl, you saved my ass that day.)
At the beginning of the meeting, I considered taking a nap (and everyone told me to), but I took DayQuil, drank my tea, and had a coughdrop that Amelia gave me and felt 10x better (shout out to you too, queen. Love you, prop master).
I ended up toughing it out and just trying not to speak since we had the musical masterclass later that day and there was a chance for me to sing.
After that, we went to lunch and I bought myself cough drops and Emergen-C to have, before taking a nap during free time. We split into groups and did our next workshop rotation, this time with my lovely TA, Alex.
We did an exercise that had to do with describing and drawing, particularly hard for me because I suck at drawing stick figures. Liz, however, freaking CRUSHED it.
Immediately after was the thing I’d been anxious about all day, the musical theatre workshop with Greg Ganakas.
Thankfully, I didn’t go. I couldn’t hear out of my left ear and my throat wasn’t doing so hot. But, I DID get to hear all of these beautiful people go up and sing. The people around me were so talented, I couldn’t freaking believe it.
We went to dinner and I was still fangirling over all the beautifully talented people I had just watched perform. Most of them made me cry, and their confidence inspired me.
We went straight into a College Panel with our lovely TA’s, who gave us so much valuable information that I know will be put to use during my college search.
Then, into the TA meeting in pajamas. Costumes, improv moments, and directional flow were all marked out. I was having so much fun, this being my first time co-writing and co-directing (first time directing overall) a show, plus one that I helped create from the ground up.
I felt so lucky to have all of these talented actors, set designers, producers, and other crew to create such a wonderful, fun show, and in such a short time span.
2019, I love you and couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to share this experience with.
The next day can only be described and joyfully hectic. We went straight from breakfast (with the entire TA group and some other friends) to a TA meeting. We had what must have been 5 run-throughs, and went to lunch with a buzz.
After that was the final presentations and we were so nervous and excited that we couldn’t stop talking. We each pulled out a quick pre-show ritual from home and did them before we went in. We sat together, presented together, and celebrated together.
First, we had design presentations, where we presented our process of directing, writing, and creating all of the non-acting aspects of the show(lights, costume, set, etc.). Then, we had the performance.
Since this post is getting so long (just getting there, Kate?), I’m going to leave a review for our show for Monday! That way all of the shows will get their recognition. (Might throw in a few things from the other shows too!)
What I’ll say for now is that our show went up first and went so so well. We also watched the other presentations, both design, and performance, from the rest of the TA groups (WHO ALL DID SO GOOD OMG).
After we all headed to dinner, we headed to our final leadership session. Everyone who wanted to had the chance to get up on stage and follow a simple structure: What I learned… and What I declare. We all took it as a sample suggestion and talked for minutes on end.
When I got up, I said that I had learned that it was okay to be myself, my true self and that it was okay to not know what the hell I’m doing all of the time, followed by a lot of really bad jokes so that I wouldn’t cry. Then, I declared that I would keep being my true, obnoxiously weird, self and keep not knowing what I was doing, and embrace every second of that existence.
Tears, hugs, and lots of love later, we made it out alive and ready to go get dressed for the Tonie Awards, all of which will be discussed in the “show reviews” post on Monday. Here’s a little sneak peek of that action. Are those awards in our hands you see?
Afterward, we had a dance. I had planned to only stay like 15 minutes for the snacks, but I ended up having such a good time and decided to stay. We danced until about 11 and then headed back to the dorms, where I continued to dance around the room and do a facemask with Fran.
I face-timed the fam back home and told them that I was excited to come home tomorrow and see their beautiful faces. I was on top of the world and extremely sad about leaving at the same time. I set my alarm and prepared to pack but ended up falling asleep in my dorm for the last time.
The last day was short and so very bittersweet.
It began with me missing breakfast because I wasn’t feeling too hot and I still needed to pack. I put on some music, sans headphones since Fran had made it to breakfast, and started packing things up.
About an hour later, my pals Kyra, Kaeleigh, and Liz brought me a bagel and a green apple so I wouldn’t starve. We watched a bit of the Office while I packed and then headed to the closing cermony.
They were playing music and showed us a slideshow that had all sorts of pictures of us. I cried, so hard.
We headed to TA meetings next and sat in a circle, passing around the paper we had used in the leadership session I mentioned a while ago, writing paragraphs about and to each other.
The rest of the day went by in a blur, and suddenly, I was on a bus to JFK.
On the bus ride there I talked to some of the amazing people in theatre that I never got to speak with while we were there. Namely, Matia and Kiki. Lovely ladies that I got to have amazing conversations with.
Once we got to the airport and Corinne and Kiki got off, it was time for Me, Matia, and Gabby to get off , along with someone we had met while getting off of the bus, Sam from Sports Management.
We all waited at a table with each other, talking and laughing while we waited for boarding time to roll around.
Once that happened, Sam and I headed to our gate (we ended up on the same flight) and started boarding the plane.
Watching the wings cut through the clouds again gave me a full circle feeling. Going home felt everything but natural, but that was because of how much I’d changed.
I had more knowledge of the field, confidence in my abilities, and security in the unknown.
This program taught and gave me so much more than I ever thought was possible and strengthened my ambition to conquer the impossible. Thank you NSLC, and thanks to all my NSLC Theatre ’19 babes.
I’ll see y’all on Broadway.
Me, This Morning, Trying To Figure Out What I’m Doing With My Life
Alright folks, that’s all I’ve got for today’s post! Make sure to come back on Monday for my show reviews!
Hi guys! Thank you all so much for reading my blog post!
The NSLC Theatre program was so much more than I could have ever anticipated. I can’t speak enough on how much this experience changed my life, and changed it for good. If you can all find a program that interests you and you can find a way to fund it, please do. My fellow theatre kids and I will attest a thousand times to how absolutely brilliant and beautiful the program and people involved in it are.
Special shout out to Lexi, Quin, Garrett, Maddy, Alex, Patrick, and Maddie, our beautiful theatre gods who we have endless thanks and ultimate appreciation for.
As usual, like and comment if you please, I’d love to learn about you and your thoughts on my writing or my blog!
If you have any thoughts on this post or have any suggestions for what you’d like to see from me in the future, please let me know! I’d love to hear from you all!
Thank you all so much, and I’ll be back on Wednesday with another post!
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