Being Rosalind

Blount Undergraduate Initiative Application: Which paper, project, or performance did you do in the last year that really engaged you? What did you do, how did you approach it, and what general ideas did you gain from this?

At the top of the page were the words “Rosalind – Piper Hill.” My head began to spin. I had been hoping for Phoebe or Celia, or even Audrey. But I was certainly not expecting the lead. A lead certainly, but the lead? No way. I was expecting a senior to get the role, or even my best friend, Abbey, who had more experience in theater than I did. But no, Piper Elizabeth Hill, the girl whose hobbies included singing Broadway showtunes and awkward attempts at actually acting, had landed the lead role in Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

Last spring was insanity. Intense three-hour rehearsals every day after school were followed by even more work at home, memorizing endless monologues and deciphering the meanings behind Elizabethan English. That wasn’t even the most difficult part of this journey. I had to act. No longer could I sing my way through this role, or pass as a mediocre theater kid. This was not a musical, and there wouldn't be anyone pounding away at a piano to cover my weaknesses.

At first, I tried too hard. “Stop acting!” “Piper, don’t act!” “I don’t believe you!” were the friendly shouts I received from Mr. Lemberg, our director, as I struggled to portray Rosalind, the strong-willed, intelligent female protagonist. For a...

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