Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, directed by Michael Rau
Stanford University, Department of Theater and Performance Studies
February 27-29 and March 5-7, 2020
Working on Everybody at the side of Michael Rau was one of best opportunities I have ever been afforded. This play required an especially unconventional rehearsal process because the roles were determined by lottery every night. We did not know who was going to play who, and thus the most we could do was do our own random lottery at each rehearsal. With 6 Somebodies and 5 possible roles at each performance, there were 720 possible shows that could happen.
I believe that I fell in love with this show because of its subtle mockery of life and death. The main character, Everybody, had to work through the acceptance of death by interacting with characters such as Friendship, Kinship, Cousin, Stuff, and more. By being provided these themes, I was able to play around what the definition of death really is. Is it the moment the last breath escapes? Is it the moment you become aware that you are inevitably going to pass away? Or do we start dying the second we are born because our timer already begins running out? I discovered the moments between the lines, between the scenes. I learned to appreciate the silences and the darkness in a production. I adapted to the purpose of set and how that adds equal symbolic meaning to the play. Using a turntable as the stage elevated the emotion to an unparalleled level. The falling walls created an unexpected awareness of other bodies in the room as the fourth wall was literally broken.
I loved the people and materials I was gifted to work with, and unfortunately the last performance was cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions. In light of the pandemic, this play took on a more serious meaning despite the overarching humor. The concept of death was more tangible than ever, and members of the audience would undoubtedly be thinking about the themes of Everybody in the months to come as they heard more about the pandemic through the media. It was the job of the creative team and the actors to present this awareness to them.
Review of Everybody by The Stanford Daily
Pippin by Bob Fosse and Roger O. Hirson, music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Stanford University, Ram’s Head Theatrical Society
April 10, 11, and 16-18, 2020
Pippin was a musical that we aimed to make relevant to modern day society, tying in themes of the Burning Man Festival to encourage the message of “leave no trace.” The world of Pippin, in our version, took place in the mind of a college student trying to find their place in the world. This resonated greatly with the student body of Stanford. I derived creative inspiration for my choreography from Bob Fosse’s original choreography, Patina Miller’s physicality, and, to many people’s surprise, Tik Tok.
I had the chance to choreograph famous songs such as “On the Right Track” and “Extraordinary”, and as an assistant, I led warm-ups. I was working on Pippin at the same time as Everybody (see above), so time management was crucial to being efficient with progress. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pippin never got to see the stage. However, the experience and community I gained made the process invaluable.
Acting and Performance Summer Institute at the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television (TFT)
University of California, Los Angeles
July to August, 2018
I was fortunate to be one of 32 students selected for UCLA TFT’s summer acting institute, which was a program that lasted for three weeks, hosted by the faculty of UCLA TFT. In this period of time, 12 students and I wrote a 30-minute play around the theme of “fool”, the only prompt given and could be interpreted in any way.