Francesco De Salvatore (Contributor) is a first year Dramaturgy/Criticism Major.
One of the most challenging things about being a teenager is deciding what exactly you think you want to do in life. When senior year rolls around the excitement is an exhilarating feeling, but then the stress of applying to colleges and finding one that works for you begins to sink in.
I guess in a way that is one of the best things about high school is that you go through your four years with so many ideas of what you want to do and sometimes your passions surprise you.
I knew probably around the end of my junior year that I wanted to do theater. The thought of dramaturgy was in the back of my head, but it wasn’t until I actually sat down and began to think about what I like to do that it finally hit me. The mixture of research and analytical work is mainly what attracted me to the major. I also felt it was a good choice because I had a lot of wiggle room in terms of occupations.
Another challenge I faced was the question: Should I go to a school where I will solely be focused on theatre? I don’t want to say that I took a leap of faith by deciding to go to a conservatory, but it was something that I wasn’t completely sure about until I actually started classes. After being here for over a month I can say that I made the right decision.
You’re thrown into an environment that is completely different from what you are used to. The amazing thing about The Theatre School at DePaul University is that they don’t isolate the freshmen from the rest of school. Instead they immediately make you feel part of the community.
As a freshman you are required to do three crew assignments, one per quarter. My first crew assignment was Cabaret, which began a couple of days before school started. The first crew assignment was beneficial because it is the first time I had experienced a semi-professional production. The productions I had been a part of previously do not compare with what I have experienced. There were no long introductions or anything of that dull nature. We began working in the scene shop and constructing the set, something I had little to no experience in. On the first day it was pretty clear I had no idea what I was doing, but as it progressed I felt a lot more comfortable with the work.
The first thing that hit me while I was working on Cabaret was how professional everything was. I come from a high school that had a dwindling theatre department where most of the students didn’t take productions seriously. It was reassuring to see that here it was much different. Outside of crew, the classes that 1st year dramaturges take are Script Analysis, Introduction to Production and History of Dramatic Literature. It’s a good way to start your first quarter.
Other schools also lacked a campus that was rich in theatre-mainly due to the fact that they were not in cities like Chicago. In the past 2 months I have been able to see all kinds of shows, which in turn have been a part of my education here at The Theatre School at DePaul University. The mixture of Chicago’s dynamic environment and The Theatre School’s commitment to challenging their students has made my first two months of my 1st year engaging and a smooth transition.