My Little Brother and Our Generation of Artists by Anna Geiger

I knew that I wanted to attend SOTA for creative writing after I seeing “The Nature of Offense,” the department’s 2013 poetry and fiction show. I was in the seventh grade. I know that for many people, their creative writing dream began years earlier. It seemed strange to me then, when I was meticulously planning my portfolio to audition for CW before most of my middle school peers had stopped to consider where they would move onto when those three years came to an end. I assumed that it was only me who planned so far ahead, but I have since come to realize that this is not at all uncommon for students who go on to attend SOTA.

Now I have a six year ­old brother who is taking lessons in swimming, dancing, art, and guitar practically since he could walk. He is incredibly creative, always bubbling over with enthusiasm to show me his latest projects and drawings and stories. He has already decided that he wants to go to SOTA, to be in the class of 2027, although he hasn’t decided what art he is most passionate about. To me, this sounds incredibly unusual, and yet if my brother is thinking about high school already, other children his age must be too. That being said, I have never met anyone below the age of 13 who has one school that they are already passionate about, unless that school is SOTA. So what is it about the School of the Arts that’s got little kids excited for secondary education? Really, it’s not complicated. What creative young kid wouldn’t be excited about getting to spend 2+ hours a day just doing what they love? For kids like my brother, who thrive in artistic settings, I can imagine that it would sound like tons of fun.

However, I think it’s important for everyone who wants to apply to SOTA, especially for creative writing, to remember that while every art department is fun, it also requires passion and determination. It’s easy to dream about going to SOTA and getting to explore an art form, but loving that art enough to practice it more than you ever will have before, and to find a balance between rigorous academic classes and that art is a challenge. Any student can thrive at SOTA with real motivation and love for what they do, but every department requires commitment.

Since I began at SOTA, I have known that this school was special. There is an artistic and lively atmosphere here that I never tire of, and opportunities that you can’t find anywhere else. I have not once regretted the workload that I took on in coming here to pursue writing, or that I was so quick to decide where I wanted to attend high school. Any school that inspires excitement in children as young as my brother is rare and unique, and I know what whether or not he ends up here, or any of the other kids his age who are already decided on it, SOTA will continue to have some of the most inspired and inspiring artists around.

Anna Geiger, class of 2018

The Nature of CW

 

Dear Department:

I was so proud of you all last night!

Our emphasis on community clearly makes us comfortable and confident working with each other. This reading performance was our most collaborative to date and sets a precedent for our fall shows. There was a real exchange of ideas as we all worked together and the results were much richer for it.

Our department has always had particular traits that characterized who we are and I have discovered that a collective sense of humor is one of them. For one thing, we all work smart. Our skits were funny because they were witty–language is always at the center.

I was struck by how your individual pieces revealed distinct voices that spoke to those things that really matter to you. This reading performance had a strong feminist current and there was such power in it! Many people told me how impressed they were with the intelligence, humor, and strength of the show. A particularly lovely, rather elegant older woman told me that she had long wanted to shave her head and that Hosanna had inspired her to finally do so.

The successful incorporation of other arts and the effort put into the  staging and pacing created the most professional show to date. We owe this professionalism to Tony, Carol, and Rachel, whose own varied arts backgrounds were an enormous contribution–as were Isaiah’s poster, flier, and program design. Many people made a point of telling me it was their favorite CW show to date–including our principal, who was sitting behind me. I will add that this was the first rehearsal week where no one asked to leave early: everyone was completely engaged with the reading as a whole, rather than his or her specific part in it.

I had planned for us to begin our fiction unit Monday, but I have decided we deserve a down day to talk about the show and enjoy our success. I also want for us to begin talking about our upcoming performances. We did a number of things right this time and have learned where we can do even do.

“The Nature of Offense” made the most money we have ever made on a CW performance. As many of you know, the theater holds 350 seats. After we filled them, Kwapy and the techies quickly retrieved forty more chairs to accommodate the over-sale. Tech, by the way, was AWESOME and we are going to go upstairs on Monday and thank them in person. We also are in debt to photographer Heidi Alletzhauser for her professional support. We should be seeing her photos up on our blogsite soon! (Photos from the show can be found here.)

Our Creative Writing Department also includes our parents. We are all completely invested in our community and it shows. Karen Saux and Julie Glantz worked nonstop on our show. Susan Williams and others posted fliers in their neighborhoods. Esther Honda, Jeanette Given, and Sue Weaver provided meals and snacks. Kevin Mogg was our trusty pizza guy and Gary Mankin once again supplied his sound expertise. Nancy Allegria printed the programs. Many wonderful parents supplied the front-of-house support without which we could not have a performance (unless the show was titled “The Nature of Anarchy”).

In the past four-and-a-half weeks CW has won Field Day, had a terrific Kirby Cove trip, and has just completed its highest-grossing and possibly best show to date. And the Giants are in the League Championships! All this and it’s only mid-October!

Keep on trucking! (I can’t believe I just wrote that.)

Love,
Heather

Creative Writing: The Nature of Offense

Two weeks ago, the Creative Writers gathered to decide on a theme for our first show of the year. A lot of our ideas had in common—from the Pussy Riot in Russia to the ban on ethnic studies classes in Arizona—the occurrences of censorship happening around the world. Of course this would be the case. As artists, there’s nothing more important than self-expression. What happens when that freedom is taken away from us?

Thus, The Nature of Offense. Thematically, we talked of Banned Books, Censored People, Evolving Terminology of “offensive” objects to mitigate the offense; to bring it closer to home, we also thought about Censoring Poetry, a bit of Audience Participation during the show to open up the circle of discussion towards the ultimate question: What Offends Us?

We are going all out for this show, with three spectacular Artists in Residence, Tony, Carol, and Rachel each taking a separate element of performance: Tony at the helm of our collective ship, Carol working with our body movements, and Rachel incorporating multi-media aspects to further enhance each CDub’s reading. On Friday, each CDub auditioned the pieces he or she would like to read, and like always, we have a spectacular range– from poetry to prose, long to short, serious to light-hearted, and those are only the more exterior aspects. Special shout-out goes to Jules Cunningham, who has yet to fail in delivering a performance piece utterly different from the “norm.” He won’t fall short this time, either, and we are eager to welcome Dorian Cunningham as a special guest star in Jules’s piece.

Join us this week for a Behind-the-Scenes look at our rehearsal process, all leading up to Friday, October 12th at 7:30, for Creative Writing’s undoubtedly sensational show, The Nature of Offense.