Last Friday, February 4th, Ben and I flew to Chicago to participate in the Unified/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA) - in other words: Grad School portfolio reviews, interviews, and auditions. Despite the huge storm the country experienced a few days before our travels, our flights were not effected by the weather - but only just barely.
This was the first time I spent this much time in this much snow and cold since I was about six - and even that I barely remember, so it was pretty exciting.
Saturday was my big presentation/interview day. Each design candidate was given a table on which they created a portfolio display. The set designers most often than not, were the most elaborate in their configuration - they had some creative displays!
Posing with my Portfolio Presentation
I went with a pretty simple and clean display. The board has two shows I designed (Henry VI on the left and The Circuit on the right). I then made four books organized by genre: Costume Designs, Construction, Makeup Design, and Art.
I had 12 interviews! I received several compliments on my display - I think I put it together in a unique way; no one else had one like it.
It was a long and exhausting day - ten hours of interviewing (the interviews were dispersed throughout the day). Once it was finished, we met up with my friend, Erin (she was one of my bridesmaids) and her fiance, Beret, for dinner. Erin and Beret had come up to Chicago just to see us! They had other friends in the city as well, but they used our visit as an excuse to come from Tennessee (Erin) and Missouri (Beret).
Sunday was our one day to relax and bum around Chicago without an U/RTA activity to attend. So we boarded the El and headed to meet Erin and Beret in China Town for Dim Sum.
Ben looking handsome in his snow gear.
All bundled up and ready to enjoy our one free day!
This is a photo Ben took while we were waiting to catch our El connection on the Red Line.
He is very proud of this picture - he should, it's pretty good.
We arrived just in time to see a Chinese Dragon dancing through the restaurant!
The Dragon was accompanied by a couple drummers.
Small world! It turned out our friend, Amy, was also in Chicago for U/RTA auditions! Ben and I know Amy from PCPA. She had time between auditions, so she joined us for lunch.
This is Erin and Beret. They are planning to get married in May!
Amy, Ben, and a Statue with... Christmas ornamentation?
We took some time after lunch to walk around China Town. We found this courtyard that had statues of all the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
In the Year of the Rabbit, one certainly expects to find Snow Rabbits, and we did!
Monday was Ben's first audition. He performed two contrasting monologues in front of a panel of two people who determined whether or not to pass him onto the second round of auditions, in front of the schools. He had his audition at about 10:30am and we didn't need to be back until 5:30! There were some schools, not apart of U/RTA, who were holding open auditions, so Ben performed his monologues for the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, in Wales! Instead of just waiting around for the results, we decided to explore downtown more. There are some AMAZING buildings in Chicago... the city really is beautiful.
We walked through the Theatre District.
We decided to make our way to the Willis (previously Sears) Tower. On the way we searched for a place were we could get Chicago deep-dish pizza. There was none to be found! So we settled for an Italian Pizza place, which turned out to be DELICIOUS. Of course, within a block of the Willis Tower, we found a restaurant that serves Chicago style pizza... we have no regrets.
The Willis Tower from below.
Inside the business side of Willis Tower (not, technically, where tourists are encouraged to go).
We didn't actually go inside the Tower until Tuesday because the visibility on Monday was only a mile or two. It was worth the wait, it was very clear on Tuesday.
Ben was passed on to the second round of auditions. He was scheduled for 11:45, then he didn't need to return until 3:30 to get the callback results (which schools wanted to interview him). We took this opportunity to return to the Willis Tower!
Ben looking out at the South side of the city... isn't that view amazing, with the lake in the background?
We just love these buildings.
The place we were staying is somewhere near that last bunch of sky scrapers. Near Wrigley Field.
So, Willis Tower recently installed these glass boxes for people to stand suspended over the street. They are amazing and frightening. The first step is entirely counter-intuitive - the mind knows you should not be stepping out onto apparent nothingness. It was also super fun.
Standing on air.
Frightened... and smelling something rotten?
Chillin' over the edge.
FALLING!... sort of.
Ben was called back by Indiana University and University of Florida, both of which I had interviewed with. I had been really impressed by Indiana, so we were excited with that possibility. We also spent some time sticking going around to the rooms where schools were conducting callbacks and sticking under the door Ben's headshot and resume with a note stating his interest in the school and desire to interview with them. Through this, UC Irvine expressed interest in Ben. I interviewed with Irvine as well - 3 for 3, pretty good!
We've been in contact with Irvine and Indiana, and we'll see what happens!
With our host, Chris.