Student joins cast of ‘The Crucible’


Getting involved in theater was the best possible decision I could have made while studying abroad in Ireland.

“Getting involved” is hard. Personally I would rather be curled up watching “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix and eating Wegmans’ sushi rather than ever facing the real world.

Alas, I was told on repeat that the best experiences studying abroad come from assimilating oneself with the local culture, so I took the plunge. Also, they don’t have “Gilmore Girls” on Ireland’s Netflix or Wegmans’ sushi so I was doomed anyhow.

I am a “theater person” by nature, double majoring in theater and advertising at Gannon. But for my first few days abroad, I wasn’t sure if I should join the theater department.

What if they do things differently? What if I am complete rubbish next to these amazing Irish actors? What if I was coming into some weird cult-like theater clique?

All actual thoughts I had. I decided to meet with the director of the theater department here at Mary Immaculate, Michael Finneran. He’s reminding me a lot of our own Shawn Clerkin and after a brief description of what I would be getting into – an intensive production of “The Crucible” with his first year theater students – I was in.

The six-credit class featured of two eight-hour class days each week, in a small rehearsal space with 10 performers, a director, an assistant director and a stage manager.

As you can imagine, over that six-week process we became pretty close. I went from feeling alone in a foreign land to being part of an amazing family. Casts have a habit of doing that.

The production itself was a lot of fun. “The Crucible” has always been a play I loved and Abigail Williams a part I had always wanted to play. Being the only American in the cast also added a different element to the show.

My cast mates and the creative team would turn to me with questions about American society and how “The Crucible” still applies today. Through discussing that we all saw a different light in the show.

While the production itself was amazing to be a part of, what I took away above all are the amazing friendships. So many of the international students group together, only spending time with people from their own countries.

Why would I come to Ireland to hang out with other Americans? I could have saved myself a plane ticket.

I now have a small gaggle Irish of friends whom I anticipate will be swinging by Erie any time to see what all the fuss is about. I cannot wait to show them, although I worry about what they will think of the Guinness in America.


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