Hey Joy! Who are you?

Happy 2022 to everyone! The end of 2021 was absolutely revolutionary for me as a student as well as in my artistry. On November 8, I started classes in my MFA program at the Lir, and we really hit the ground running. In my course, I am taking four classes five days a week, as well as two 2-3 hour rehearsals each week. All of these hours of in person work in addition to readings and writings in homework has made for a very hectic schedule over the last couple of months.

Amidst this busyness, I’ve felt an unfaltering sense of inspiration and self-assurance because of my classmates and the art that I’ve seen on Irish soil. My classmates are voracious in asking the question “why?” of everything we encounter. I feel that I’ve been pushed to realize that in art, nothing is coincidence. Choices are continuously and meticulously made. For this reason, I feel that my art has been pushed to a standard that leaves no detail unexplored. My thought processes are being teased out, my choices are becoming more definite, and I’m becoming even more willing to speak out about what I believe in an artistic context than I’ve ever been able to before. 

Rehearsal from one of my scenes from Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats

On the first day of my Directing Workshop, Annabelle Comyn, the head of the Directing Program, asked my classmates and I a simple question:

“What type of theatre excites and engages you?” 

At first, this question was very simple. I was quick to scribble down things like “theatre that engages with an audience in a real way” and “theatre that plays with preconceived notions from the audience.” When I told Annabelle my answers, she responded with “what do you mean?” I was immediately caught off guard. She had asked me to describe the ineffable magic of my ideal type of theatre. All I could come up with was titles of plays that I had read and seen that inspired me. After she had stumped the entire class, she asked us all to go home and write a manifesto describing what it is that we make and how we make it. She told us to avoid preambles and apologies and to just speak freely about ourselves as artists. At the time, I found this impossible, but I soon learned otherwise. 

One of my favorite parts of my program has been that the teaching is focused on asking us to explain ourselves as artists. At first, this was extremely stressful. I had never been asked to state my artistic actions and intentions, instead, I have continuously been asked to explain what I think of another artist’s actions and intentions. Harvard had given me the tools to think about art, but not necessarily to talk about my own. However, over the last couple of months, I’ve started to actually take steps to unapologetically state what it is that I do and how exactly I do it, and that has been extremely freeing. 

Throughout my program, I’ve been listening to music a lot as a study aide as well as a way to center myself through all of this meaningful work. Here’s a playlist of songs that have inspired me most recently: 

I’m deeply looking forward to the next several months of my course, as I can already tell it’s going to mature me from the artist I know to the artist that I’ve always hoped to be! Sending good energy and blessings to all! 

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