It is official: Thing Two has been admitted to the college of his choice.

That would be the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts Department of Theatre--and yes, they spell it -re. He had to go down to Richmond to audition a few weeks back, along with the other 240+ students trying to get into the thirty slots they had available for next year, so it was a somewhat harrowing process.

The weird thing was, I was never really concerned about it.

I mean, sure, I wasn't going around talking about how well he'd do next year, or planning his four-year course of study for him; if nothing else, that's just bad karma. I just didn't really have any doubt that he'd get a slot. Granted, this is something that's easy for a parent to do ("Of course he's wonderful! He's my kid!"), but I have to assume at this point that the main reason for my feeling was knowledge.

I'm so used to thinking of myself as a generalist that I'm occasionally startled by the realization that I do in fact have some specialized knowledge. Sometimes that knowledge is essentially useless--having the roster of the Legion of Substitute Heroes memorized has done me very little good over the years, for example--but in this case my knowledge was actually pertinent: I've seen a lot of high-school speakers and actors.

I've been teaching speech now since the fall of 1991, and I spent most of that time (up until the spring of '06) judging at forensics tournaments as well. I've also directed eight plays, including three in which Thing Two had sizable roles and two in which he had bit parts, and I've seen somewhere between three and seven student productions per year since 1995. In other words, I've got a pretty good feel for what high-school students can do in front of an audience. And I've got a VERY good feel for what Thing Two can do.

And knowing all that, no, I wasn't worried.

Still, it's nice to have that feeling of certainty confirmed by events, and if nothing else it gives me confidence that the VCU Theatre department knows what it's doing. It's also comforting to know that he'll be in Richmond for the next few years--far enough away that he can live his own life, but not so far away that we can't go down to catch a show that he's working on with relative ease. It's also nice that he'll be at the same school as his brother, who's studying history; they can take care of each other in a pinch, and it allows us the relative luxury of picking up/dropping off both boys in one trip. And yes, we did the little In-State Tuition dance that parents get to do.

But really, I'm just pumped that his undeniable talent and enthusiasm for theater is going to be nurtured at length and in depth. I don't have a good working knowledge of professional theater, but I do believe he can acquire the tools he needs to make a go of it as a career. And speaking as someone whose life was in no small way transformed by his own theater experiences, I can't imagine a better opportunity for him.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on March 9, 2011 10:44 AM.

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