“Scholarships Let Students Immerse in Research”
I’ve always grown up around bodies water, the East River in my backyard, the Mediterranean in view from my uncle’s, and the Seine a train ride from my grandma’s.
My dad planned it that way. He grew up near the Loire River in France. His parents didn’t know how to swim because their parents were terrified of strong currents (drowning was the most common pre-mature death there). He vowed to make sure he would do better. So at a very young age, I learned to love the sea. My papa is one to swim all the way out to the bouey limit, while my mom would glamorously sit by the shore. If he left without me, I wouldn’t dare go out there alone though. I was terrified of the rare possibility that I would be dragged to the bottom by a shark or die from the fatal brush of an Australian Jellyfish. So I took up scuba diving to know what exactly was below me while I swam and discover the ecology surrounding it. Somewhere along the way, theatre took precedence. But the sea was still there. Carnegie Mellon doesn’t know, but I really used my required elective classes to pursue my art through an ecological lens. And the question came up: How can I conserve the seas and our oceans through art? Ecodrama.
Introduced to me by Professor Wendy Arons, ecodrama is a genre in theatre which incorporates theatre and ecological concepts. In the summer of 2015 I traveled to Indonesia to conduct research on fluorescent proteins in corals and experiment with underwater cinematography. The following summer I directed a devised piece using Laban movement qualities and Balinese dance to depict the effects of fish-fence farming on an already fragile community in the Pacific off of Hoga Island. The piece examines our use of water and misconceptions that the seas “will always provide”, when it is a finite resources. Below are pictures from the experience. In the following months I won an award for “Artistic Excellence” and “Environmental Studies” at the Meeting of the Minds Symposium at Carnegie Mellon.