Post- Magazine, Brown Daily Herald, Spring Weekend Edition, 4/20/10
Springtime at Brown. A season of iced coffee, Frisbee on the Main Green and Ratty take-out, culminating in the debauchery-fest known as Spring Weekend. I arrived as a freshman full of expectations about this quintessential part of the Brown experience, preparing myself for an epic marathon of parties, concerts and sunshine. I did not anticipate spending the entire weekend indoors, dressed all in black, holding a fire extinguisher and imagining the fun my friends were having without me.
While for the majority of the student body, real life stops for the duration of Spring Weekend, the theatre community toils on. Last year, I found myself teching Fracture/Mechanics as a requirement for my freshman acting class. Most Brown students would never consider scheduling a play during Spring Weekend. However, this show was a new work by MFA playwriting student Mallery Avidon, part of the New Works Play Festival. The Festival featured new plays written and directed by graduate students, the majority of whom were completely oblivious to the undergraduate festivities happening just a block away. I, on the other hand, remained painfully conscious of what I was missing. Exiting the theatre after our Friday night performance, I was greeted by the rapid-fire rhymes of Nas pulsing through the spring air. I couldn’t join in this rite of passage uniting my fellow freshman to the rest of the student body, a final step in our initiation into the Brown community. I felt isolated and alone as I soberly made my way back to Keeney.
I was not the only poor, unfortunate soul with extracurricular obligations during Spring Weekend. Musical Forum’s production of A New Brain also had rehearsal in anticipation of their show the following weekend. However, they refused to let this obligation stop their fun. Cast members reported that the majority of the cast showed up drunk and proceeded to drink more as the rehearsal progressed, until finally they were released back into the helter-skelter world of Spring Weekend.
So what is it that makes this weekend different from all other weekends? Well, on all other weekends we Brown students know how to have fun—we are the happiest students in the country, after all. But the time always comes when we have to put up our cups and head for the SciLi. Spring Weekend is an escape, a release from all rules into a surreal whirlwind of mayhem, some of which we might even remember Monday morning.
Other students tend to react with horror, dismay, and pity when they hear about my first Spring Weekend experience. They can’t imagine any responsibility interrupting the late April free-for-all. But in theatre, as the saying goes, “the show must go on,” even on Spring Weekend. Some would say I was making sacrifices for my art. I say I didn’t have a choice. Theatre is a group effort, an intricate process of putting people together, breathing life into a text and nurturing it until it’s ready to face an audience. You don’t stop feeding your baby because you have something better to do, and you don’t stop rehearsing because it’s Spring Weekend. You know that when Monday rolls around, you’ll still be scarily close to opening, with a lot of work left to do.
This year, as a sophomore full of foresight, I did not schedule any commitments, theatrical or otherwise, during Spring Weekend. As much as I love theatre, my experience last year was, let’s face it, lame. I’ve got my tickets, the weather looks promising, and this year I plan on being outside, no fire extinguishers in sight, having a weekend I’ll never forget.