Making the senior capstone project something extraordinary is a goal many Cabrini students hope for. Alyssa Reape is a senior English major with a minor in theater and writing. Completing and passing the capstone project is essential to graduating.
Her capstone was a play she wrote, directed, and acted in. Her friend, George Nave also performed in it. It was presented at the college in the beginning of January.
George Nave is a junior triple majoring in history, English and political science here at Cabrini College. Reape collaborated with George developing the play.
“Obviously Alyssa did most of the work, but being a part of it was really great, Nave said.”
Time management and hard work were put into performing at their best. They decided to start in the summer for rehearsal time to practice together.
“Or individually on solo pieces for the show, she said there is a lot of them, Reape said.”
The reason is because they knew that the fall semester would slow up the process.
If you are wondering if it was a one year process the answer is no. “During the fall of 2013 my music director Robert Stoop and I bounced ideas back and forth about how to approach the project, Reape said.”
An approval from faculty members Seth Frechie and Michelle Filling-Brown was hopped.
These people understand the processes, love and art of theater.
Establishing a firm idea of setting, concept, lighting and vision for the production was made before sitting down with the English department’s chair, Seth Frechie, and the head of the theater concentration and capstone program, Michelle Filling-Brown.
Alyssa was anxious and nervous. At this moment when they said yes, she cried in great relief.
“They were both so enthusiastic and so completely behind the project I actually cried after the meeting. It was happening.”
Having the project approved made it for they could go about getting the rights for the show and getting things started. Stoop also helped along finding ways for getting the yes for approval.
Everything did not go smoothly. That was just one of the obstacles. It became difficult at points.
“I think it was pretty difficult in its entirety! There was so much more work to do than I had initially anticipated and I was constantly feeling like time wasn’t on my side. It kept going by so fast! Reape said.”
As an actress the role for this specific project went beyond those of the past. In the past there was; she auditioned for a role, was given a script, told what to do, where to go and how to do things, and then she performed.
This time she had complete control. Having that independence brought out of her and introduced something more. Elements of leadership, learning more about production and singing probably the hardest music she had to sing in her life.
“Alyssa and her family and friends painted the set.
Alyssa decided to not stage The Last 5 Years as it was performed in the original off-Broadway production. In that version, each character performed in isolation with the exception of when their narratives — which are being told in opposite chronological order– aligned on their wedding day. Alyssa made the decision to have both actors on the stage together for almost the entire show so that you could feel more of the passion, heartache, and loss through the memories and stories of this failed relationship.
There is even a blog that Alyssa created to reflect on the process of her project, Dr. Filling-Brown said.”
Alyssa began to feel too overwhelmed and time seemed to be going too fast.
What you love can sometimes make you exhausted.
“I think my past performances really helped me by giving me the confidence to even attempt to do this project in the first place. I’ve always loved performing and I wanted to explore a new side of the theater by directing and designing the show. My past performances allowed me to have confidence in my abilities and they gave me some sort of familiarity of what it takes to put on a show, Reape said.”
The weight was lifted off of her shoulders completing this project. “It felt awesome. I’m so proud of what I accomplished and so relieved I was able to do everything I had hoped but I’m also a little sad see it end, Reape said.”
It was more than an accomplishment. Doing it right was personal and special to her.
I was thrilled to be part of her capstone, Nave said.
“Overall, despite the show being a lot of work, being able to help Alyssa with her project to see that smile on her face at the end of the show was so worth it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat, Nave said.”
It is a representation of a milestone for Reape. Finally ending it was bittersweet as well.
“This show was so much more than a school project for me. It is something I will remember for the rest of my life and something I can consider as being one of my greatest achievements. I felt so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to incorporate something I’m so passionate about into my academic career. It was a blessing and a nightmare all at the same time but I wouldn’t think of changing it for a second, Alyssa said.”