A Berridge 2015 alum shares her top ten takeaways from her summer in France. Written by Sara Florez.
The summer after my freshman year of high school I took a chance on an acting program that got advertised through my school’s email. Berridge was the program I didn’t know I wanted and an experience I didn’t know I needed.
Keep reading to see some of the many gifts I received from my summer at Berridge.
1. Cue Scripts
If thou is unfamiliar with the cue script then it is necessary to find one! I think it is hard to appreciate them unless you’ve used one before. I still have mine and refuse to throw them away. A cue-script represents one of the early ways Globe actors used to memorize lines. In a typical week, one actor might have been in three different plays with limited time to rehearse and learn lines so; the cue-script was created.
2. Places to reflect
Perhaps my morning runs at Berridge started because I love working out, but I don’t think the reason I kept doing them was fitness-related. Instead, my morning run was about using the roads and trails surrounding the château as places to be alone with my thoughts.
I remember tiptoeing down the stairs, closing the front door slowly behind me and rushing through the pebbled road to get to the grassy front lawn before anyone could hear. I would connect my iPod to a local french radio station (convincing myself I could understand) and start jogging, fixating on the orange, yellow, light blue hues of the sky. The air was so chilly I could see my breath. The road was long, but the surrounding trees framed it so that I never felt alone. I could sprint, walk, stop and stare at the beauty of nature, every journey was up to me.
The runs helped me reflect on my classes from the day before and prepare for the day ahead. They served as an alternative to meditation and a great way to stay focused. Although I didn’t run every day, I am grateful I forced myself out of bed every now and then especially because I always arrived on time for a wonderful breakfast.
3. Discovering new voices
On one of our visits to the town market, I asked the man in charge of the music stand – in broken French – about a song playing through the speakers. The song was “Jour 1” by Louane...I’ve been a fan of hers since! Fellow Alum Luis Martinez and I still bond over this song.
4. Tea! Marmite!
A massive thank you to Diarmaid, one of the Berridge faculty, for showing me the little garden that helped me spice up my tea and to Simon, our resident Shakespeare specialist, for convincing me to try Marmite for the first time. Yum...seriously.
When you’re improvising, trying something out in class, or performing, you never know who’s really watching or listening. You just try your best and give your all. However, sometimes when you touch someone; be it emotionally, spiritually, etc., your message sticks and resonates. While most of the time there is no opportunity for the observer to tell you how you’ve moved them, at Berridge we spend enough time with each other for these exchanges to happen. These conversations bring joy, excitement, and inspiration.
A meaningful conversation can go a long way especially when it's with someone you’ve come to admire. They are gifts that stay with you forever.
6. Quieting the mind
I LOVED MEDITATING IN THE BARN. It is incredibly hard to quiet the mind, but it is possible. Andrea’s gong and soothing voice make the practice special. You won’t regret trying it.
7. Finding a way back
Forgetting your lines doesn’t have to be so daunting! On the final showcase, I performed a piece that I had only recently chosen. Yes… I forgot my lines at some point. I don't think anyone noticed. (If you did, dm me :) ) But anyway, I was able to recover and move on with my piece. I owe it to the many confidence-building moments I had over the past few weeks with my Berridge friends and faculty in class. I just had to think 'FTP' and use the space to find a place where I could continue. You can always find a way back when you’re lose something, not just your lines... and this experience taught me how.
Of course, plan B is to look at Simon and yell “line!”
8. Having an outlet
I loved being so free to try new things and mix old things together. No idea goes unnoticed here- you only need to share.
9. Living closer to the stars
On our last night, we stayed up late and laid out on the front lawn to stare at the sky. Never had I seen so many stars so bright and so close! I wanted to stay there all night and I’m sure some of my Berridge friends felt the same way. A lot was said that night even if it wasn't said out loud. We all knew how much we meant to each other and how much we'd miss each other after we all went our separate ways the next day.
10. Many, many, other things
Thank you Berridge for an unforgettable summer. I learned so much about not only being a thespian, but about being a better human being. Being a part of this group is incredibly special, and I will forever be a fan of its people and their work.
Applications are now open for all programs. Students will be admitted to Spotlight, Generate, Summer in France, and Creative Semester programs on a rolling basis following completion of all application materials. We hope to welcome you to the Berridge family very soon.
For information on our new scholarships, please click here!