After last week's blog post about The Experiment, we thought it would be awesome to dive even more deeply into the experience. And what better way than to read what it was like from a student's point of view?
For a little background, this is Eve/Ripple's journal from the first week of The Experiment. This year, the first week was Scary Movie themed. The students devised a scary comedy about vampires. As part of this, they were also responsible for creating their own characters. So any writing you see about alter egos or blood sucking is all related to the show.
Special thanks to Eve for letting us peek into her experience at The Experiment this year! Everything included below are Eve's own thoughts and opinions. All abbreviations, slang, personality, and jokes are hers. :)
day 37, 7/24/16 - today was HECK YEAH AWESOME: • woke up at 11:30 (I actually didn't go to bed until 5am because I was finishing Mortal Instruments #4) • finished packing with giant duffel bag • drove to Experiment and sang Hamilton all the way • talks with Justin • the name choosing ceremony (ya girl is Ripple henceforth) • talked about plot structure and vampires • joined group AB (positive/negative???) • began STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST journal • currently bunking with Portia/Fiona
It's going to be such a lovely week and I'm so excited. I'm in love with my character (even though I don't really know her well). I'm in love with the process of letting go. I'm in love with making decisions for myself. Let's go.
day 38, 7/25/16 - late post from a day to write down your fears, then cross each one out as if slaying a dragon with a sword: • woke up at 6:15 am (I barely got 2 hours of sleep bc I was having problems adjusting to an early bedtime) • meditation/breakfast • first real rehearsals for the show (we practiced stage combat for an unknown scene??) • lunch • BOB time (in which I worked on my STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST journal and received my book swap book - the first LOTR book) • more rehearsal time (we blocked the opening scene intros and it was very frustrating bc no one could agree) • we had a talk about frustration • group discussions on a second time vampire • beach time (the lake is disgusting and has more goose poop than sand, but I rode a paddle boat for the first time!!) • dinner and Justin time (this is where killing dragons comes in) • "bedtime" (we actually had a tea run and some late night convos first)
The day was rough at first. I had trouble remembering everyone's new names, I got easily frustrated when blocking scenes and they didn't turn out well, and I was uncomfortable and unfocused more than I would like to be. Still, at the end of the day, one of our counselors pulled me aside after I slayed some dragons and told me that I did a good job dealing with frustration and that he was proud of me. It felt very genuine, especially since he doesn't really know me and isn't a regular YAT teacher. I must remind myself that it's only day one. It's okay to make mistakes (both in acting and as a student/human). In fact, to quote a book from earlier this summer, I should work to "fail as fast as I can," so that I am all that closer to getting stuff right. I'm on my way to finding happiness in myself. I am my own dragon.
day 39, 7/26/16 - today was a day to breathe fire in silence: • woke up at 6am sharp • got ready, feelin good, and headed to breakfast • ate some very hard toaster waffles • rehearsal for 3 hours (we got split into our groups and MINE ROCKS I LOVE THEM, TEAM ASSEMBLY FOR THE WIN) • I was pulled aside for a secret assignment (this is so exciting bc last year I was out of the know for everything and this feels all mystic and mysterious) • Animal Mother (Aka Ani, or the artist formally known as Cooper) and I are BEST FRIENDS (he knows even more than me but we're best friends and things are happening in the show that I don't understand but yes) • lunch time with some shady nachos • BOB time where I listened to music and journaled • more rehearsal in which I got more excited and cooper tortured me by tiptoeing around details I can't have yet • dinner • free time • rehearsal of an unknown dream sequence • creation of manifestos during Justin time • currently sitting on Laura's bunk and freaking out
IM SO EXCITED AND SO NERVOUS AND I REALLY WANT TO BE THE TWICE TURNED VAMPIRE THAT THE STORY IS ABOUT AND I THINK I MIGHT JUST BE. But I'm also not certain and I don't want to be disappointed and I also don't want to figure it all out and not be surprised when all the scenes are revealed tomorrow. I feel like this is diarrhea, but in a good way and exploding from my heart. Tryna not let myself get disappointed. Tryna be a good actor. Tryna be morally righteous and humble no matter what the outcome. Possibly failing at all of these.
day 40, 7/27/16 - a day of champions and breakthroughs and answers (also one of my bff's birthday, so): • woke up at 6 • rehearsal with the group • rehearsal in which I watched all the other groups • lunch • more rehearsal • even more rehearsal • free time in which I *played* gaga ball (or whatever it's called)• stumble through first run • campfire • now too pumped
YA HOMEGIRL IS THE TWICE VAMPIRE. Except I'm way more attached to her than I thought. And my heart breaks for her. And I cried for a solid twenty minutes when I found out how the story ends. I'm also feeling hardcore, genuinely proud of myself for the first time in MONTHS. Even though I was extremely nervous and excited for this role, I think today's stumble through made me feel like I earned something for myself. I'm so excited for tomorrow and so not ready for this week to end.
day 41, 7/28/16: late post from a day in which we reconnected with our roots (in more ways than one): • woke up at 6:30am • ate breakfast • immediately jumped into 4 smaller rehearsals with all the groups • had an hour BOB time just to myself, alone in the cabin (I got cleaned up, jammed to music, memorized a creepy nursery rhyme, and did some character perspective writing) • returned to rehearsals before I was needed and stacked rocks with Ani/Cooper (because after all, what is pain but hanging in the balance!) • finished the shows final movements • dinner in character • awkward freetime where I wanted to be in character but also didn't want I disturb anyone and I started to feel sad • more awkward time where I did character work alone while everyone worked on movement pieces • huge (yet very contained) panic in which I realized the time left at camp is very short and I know more about (and love) my character more than I do myself • really rough first rehearsal outside • disappointed/encouraging Michael talk • fire time that rekindled my soul and reminded me of purpose • sleepover with roommates (we dragged mattresses on the floor and vegetarian friendly bacon chips were eaten)
Today was definitely the hardest day I've had at the Experiment. I started thinking a lot like Eve, rather than Ripple. With that came a lot of uncertainties and insecurities which, of course, trickled into my acting. So that sucked. But it didn't last. Because everyone here is so awesome and encouraging and open. I know I'm not the only one who is scared. I know I'm not the only one who’s gotten a little lost on the way to what's next, and I'm not the only one whose having trouble letting go. Most importantly though, I certainly have no reason to doubt or lose hope. Lots of things are about to change but it'll be okay. For now, I'll continue to stack rocks. Everything "hanging in the balance" is actually just taking time to fall into place
day 42, 7/29/16 - Today was a day to listen to Melancholy Hill in a secret hiding place over the pond: • woke up at 6 and got ready/went to breakfast • hardcore run through of scenes with detailed acting notes • lunch • plotting out of the scenes on the camp ground • the creation of the last scene (in which I scream over-dramatically and do my best imitation of mortal combat until I end the whole show dying next to cooper in the place where the universe gave me my name .... symbolic) • said goodbye to Torence (Janna) for the last time before college and sobbed hardcore • wandered around different rooms for BOB time • ate dinner and watched experiment videos • currently sitting on the secret deck with fellow artists
I am so tired and emotionally exhausted. I'm gonna log off the phone for the rest of the night because that's the rules and I'm breaking them to post this. I love life and I'm not ready for the show to end. Bless.
day 43, 7/30/16 - late post because I was emotional and needed time to gather my thoughts: • woke up at 6 • packed things • ate the biggest cinnamon roll I've ever eaten in my life • rehearsed the show some and put together costumes • lunch, where Justin pulled me aside and told me that I was "one of the best colleagues he's ever had" (I hid in the bathroom and sobbed until a little girl walked in on me giving myself a pep talk in the mirror and it was weird) • more rehearsal • an hour of cool down time • a kick-butt performance and final moments as ripple • the sharing of journals and the final moments as a YAT students • some very emotional and loving goodbyes (most of which I don't really remember all too well exactly what was said) • I hid rocks in everyone's bags before I snuck away • chocolate shakes and fries on the way home • more crying and love • I passed out around midnight
I already knew that this show was going to be hard to leave behind, but I have been putting off trying to deal with the impending end of my YAT career. And today it has come. I could not have asked for a better way out (who could top a week full of love, vampire puns, rocks, and the best theatrical death scene in history?). I can't even begin to wrap my head around how awesome it was. After three and a half years, I finally have found the top of the mountain. Everything I've learned at YAT has been put to use. Even in stressful situations, I was able to give myself pep talks. I made good decisions and I really became the person I've always wanted to be. And now it's over after just one golden week. But like Justin said, the top of the mountain is only cool if you move on to the next one after your moment there. Ripple has been such a beautiful moment for me. As hard as it is, I am leaving her behind now. I decided not to take her rock (a prop used in the show) home with me. I put it in the little cove where she came to me on the first day. I think she'd like that a lot. From her, I learned my most valuable YAT lesson: only by letting go of the things we love most may we keep the best parts of them with us. I'm going to try and remember this most of all in the coming weeks.