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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Falling Back in Love

  • Author(s): Branick, Mary Rose
  • Advisor(s): Barnes, Eva
  • et al.

Upon arrival at UCSD, I was deeply uncertain about many things. On an artistic as well as human level, I couldn’t tell you what I stood for, what I needed, or even what I wanted. All I knew is that I had fallen in love with this theatre-making thing and everything underneath it. But this kind of love was new, fiery and easily breakable.

After the dress rehearsal of Life is a Dream, I received contrasting notes from my teachers. Feeling the impossibility of taking both notes at the same time, I went into Marco’s office and asked him for advice. He responded, “Who cares what I think? What do you think is the right thing to do?” I had no idea. I realized in that moment that all the trying to get it “right” had made love impossible. In making my priority affirmation and pleasing of others, I had fallen out of love with the craft.

Mending this love meant reprioritizing. I learned to think first about what I found joyful, fascinating, and invigorating about my work. I learned that steeping in all the juicy, human, complicated parts of the work meant my acting would be better. I learned that finding fulfillment leads to work that you are proud of.

In grad school, I was lucky enough to fall in love over and over again. I fell in love during my solo show sharing a story I knew like the back of my hand. I fell in love with my character, Kara, in How to Defend Yourself. I fell in love watching my classmates succeed. I fell in love in class, in an exercise, in a moment, over and over again. Graduating with an MFA while Broadway is shut down makes me feel uncertain once again. But I’m now equipped to fall back in love through joy, and that is something that I will bring with me forever.

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