Sunday, February 18, 2007

Juilliard Drama Division - Group 36

Every year, two thousand students audition for twenty places in the freshman class in The Juilliard School's Drama Division. In 2003, my best friend (a fellow North Carolinian and New York transplant) was one of those two thousand students to audition. In 2007, she will be one of the 15 members of Group 36 at Juilliard to successfully complete the intense, four-year program.

Last night I went to see her in her final production of the 4th Year Drama Division Season 2006-07. As I waited for the play to begin on a stage on the fourth floor of the world-renowned school, I flipped through The Juilliard Journal. The interesting thing about the school's newspaper is that their alumni news section is sprinkled with the news of famous actors, dancers, directors, musicians, playwrights and composers. With notable alumni like Val Kilmer (Group 10), Kevin Kline (Group 1), Anthony Mackie (Group 30), it's easy to wonder what the future holds in store for Group 36.

The play "THE GREEKS Part One: The War," which runs through Monday, was interesting and entertaining albeit hard to understand. At least for me anyway. I can vaguely remember the gist of most of the Greek mythology stories I read in high school and college so I was slow to grasp much of the symbolism, which was often crude and raw for artistic shock value.

After the play, she crashed at my place uptown so that she wouldn't have to go all the way back to the Bronx; she had to be back at school early this morning. We discussed the symbolism of the "The Greeks" - mostly for my benefit as I was curious to know what different parts of the play meant. The play used the old Greek myth of Helen of Troy coupled with modern-day props to portray the repetition of history and ultimately the mistakes and detriment of mankind (including George Bush's policy and the war in Iraq, though it didn't say it in so many words).

Before we both drifted off to sleep, we also chatted about her last four years at Juilliard and what her move to Los Angeles this fall might hold. I imagine that right now she feels very much like I did last year anticipating my move to New York City.

After graduation, a whole new adventure will begin for her - and the other members of Group 36 - as mine continues right here in the Big Apple.

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