On Furman’s campus, tucked away behind McAlister Auditorium, you’ll find a little tin building called The Playhouse. It’s not much, but it’s home to me and around 30 other theatre majors. What makes this place so special, are it’s colorful inhabitants i.e. The faculty of the theatre department. They are some of the wittiest, kindest, hardest-working most gracious people on this campus and they deserve all of the awards and accolades. Instead, what they get is a blog-post by little ‘ol me. When I was deciding on whether or not Furman was the place for me four years ago, I remember the day I walked into the Playhouse for the first time. It had that great, homey, old theatre smell that hit me as soon as I opened the doors. I met Jay Oney, our fearless leader. Jay is the head of our department and he’s probably (nay DEFINITELY) the funniest person on Furman’s campus. After talking to him, and being shown the maze of the department, meeting the curmudgeon-wizard Rhett Bryson, the passionate genius Maegan Azar and the compassionate, nurturing Margaret Caterisano, I was hooked, and fully convinced that this place deserved a sitcom spot on NBC.
Four years later, and I still feel the same way. They’ve all become family, a most loud, adventurous, creative family. In the theatre department, we all call each other by our first names. Every morning at 10:30AM, if you don’t have to attend or teach a class, you go into the scene shop and you play darts. Well, for me it’s more like throwing a dart and hitting the side of the wall only to get properly heckled by Jay and Rhett. Nevertheless, it comes with great conversation and espresso. And what’s not to love about espresso? When we aren’t being taught by them in a classroom, we are being directed, costumed or borrowing their plays and books. Sometimes, we are workshopping on a Saturday. Grabbing lunch at Karrie’s Deli, or just popping by an office to chat about life.
I have shared my highest highs and my lowest lows with those wonderful, quirky people in that happy little shanty. When you come to Furman, whether you find your family in the theatre department, biology department, or gender and woman’s studies department, I promise that this place is made up of some of the most exquisite people. Sure, the lake is really pretty, and the drive through the old trees down the mall is pretty breathtaking, but what beats all of the aesthetics every single time are the human beings that shape and mold you to be the person that you will be when you leave this place at the end of it all. I’m reminded every day how blessed I am to have met these people… to have let them all steal little parts of my heart. Winnie the Pooh said it best “how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”