161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do, #52

52. See a play in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts

Normally, when I’m asked why I’m taking a liberal studies class, I reply that I need it to graduate.  Normally, when I’m taking a liberal studies class, I don’t get to use things like saws and sledgehammers.  I just finished taking a class where I worked in the scene shop at the Schwartz Center and could get liberal studies credit for it.  I helped to make the scenery for the plays in the Schwartz, which includes sawing, painting, and drilling, among other things.

Because I’d never seen a play at the Schwartz before and because I worked on the scenery, I decided to go see The Glass Menagerie when it was showing.  I had the usual nineteen (give or take a few) problem sets due the next week, but I’d been grading for seven hours straight, so I gave myself the rest of the night off.  The show had opened a couple nights before and was well-received, and by the time the Saturday night show started, most of the seats in the theater were occupied.

The show was performed in the smaller theater at Schwartz, so there weren’t hundreds of people packed in, but it was nice to be able to see the actors up close and hear them without microphones.  As for the play itself, I really enjoyed it.  The play was a memory play, told by the main character, and besides him, there were only three other parts (the main character’s mother, his sister, and a gentleman caller), so each actor had a lot of lines.  Lighting and sound were effective without being intrusive, and I liked seeing how props and scenery I’d worked on were used in the final production.

I haven’t read The Glass Menagerie, so I wasn’t sure if I would find the play interesting, but within fifteen minutes of the lights dimming, I was drawn into the story.  I’m going to end by commenting that if more lectures were like the play, my watch wouldn’t get so much use.  Just saying.