UC San Diego
Flying: Freedom and Expression on Stage
- Author(s): Patterson, Thomas Kevin
- Advisor(s): Donnelly, Kyle
- et al.
I am an actor. I wrapped a lot of my identity around that sentence. After moving to New York, churning through four years of training at an undergraduate level, and spending some time as a working professional, I began to feel stagnant. The sense of play had been lost. Pounding pavement just for the sake of audition was beginning to take its toll. While I had worked around the country, I felt that theatre had become an obligation. Success was mandatory. Then I got sick.
I developed an autoimmune disorder known as alopecia areata. While it can happen to healthy individuals, my doctor decided that the amount of stress in my life combined with the fact I was not eating had caused my body to shut down. A change
was necessary. Acting had ceased being pleasurable. I wanted to find my way back to that feeling of weightlessness on stage. Adjusting my attitude, I decided to train again, but this time with a positive energy.
Throughout my time at UCSD I concentrated on being easy on myself. I know I am harsh with myself. Explaining the transformation three years of training is impossible in limited space, but in my final show, She Stoops to Conquer, I re-found lightness. The training, from voice to movement, has been unexpected and immensely fulfilling. While I am continually working on myself emotionally and physically, this program has done more than make me a better actor. It has made me a happier, fuller human being.