The Road to NYU: Drama Therapy Audition
Note: This is entry two in The Road to NYU series, which are updates as I move towards moving to New York and attending New York University. For the back story, check out my Drama Therapy Callback post.
I wake up to another day of rainy, cold and indescribably windy weather in NYC. Day three of wearing rain boots and not even bothering to style my fro, because before I even get on the train I look like a walking used Q-tip. I am on my way to New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development for my Drama Therapy interview/audition.
I don’t really know what to wear as 1) It’s cold and I’m from South Florida so that already takes more brain power than necessary to dress and 2) The interview instructions said to wear clothes you can “move in” and that they don’t expect you to change into formal wear for the personal interview. So, I don’t want to blow it and be too casual, but after doing movement exercises and drama games I can hardly see the point in changing into a suit at that point. And this program seems to be focused on really getting to know you as an individual so I will just bring myself – a better version, but no pretentiousness.
Only by the grace of God have I found this place on time. I can’t even find my way out of a paper bag, let alone navigate the streets of New York in the wind and rain. I have just a few minutes to spare to chug a café con leche from an eatery across from Steinhardt. Side note: It’s absolutely delicious, and under 2 bucks. Take THAT Starbucks!
I enter the room to find a hodge-podge of people, some look lost and confused like me, some are stretching like ballerinas, and some look official like they are already students – later confirmed to be true, as most of the audition process is led my students already in the program.
I’m overwhelmed by all the very happy faces plastered with smiles. Everybody is giving a lot of eye contact, direct eye contact. Only two types of people give that much direct eye contact: zombies and actors. Still haven’t decided which they were. I consider myself a friendly person, but a genuinely friendly person. If I give a smile it’s because I really mean it. I got the feeling that everyone in the room felt that had to be super-polite, charming and friendly. Which makes sense because this is an audition, but also made me kind of uncomfortable.
The first half of the day was spent doing various drama therapy exercises while the current graduate students and professors – including Robert Landy (the director of the program) took notes on the side. We all knew we were being evaluated but were still asked to buy into this “safe” environment, which is a bit of a paradox but we all went with it.
I’m tired. A little sweaty. Hungry. We were just released for lunch and I feel someone is playing several different out of tune radio stations all at once. So, I decide to eat alone and have some quiet time. I need a classy, quiet, reflective environment; what better place for that than the good ‘ole Golden Arches? I was too ashamed to admit to anyone else that I actually ate at McDonald's while being in such a cool area with local eateries so I shoved the chicken sandwich down my throat and even though I wasn’t done with my coke and was still rather thirsty, I threw my cup away before entering the building.
This part of the afternoon was the group audition portion. We were put into groups at random and then constructed a project that focused on storytelling. Storytelling and role-play are the two major elements of NYU’s Drama Therapy curriculum. I had a great group that was very diverse and yet we worked together really well. I thought our work was truthful and honest even in the midst of being “evaluated.”
DUN. DUN. DUN. The moment of truth. Now, the individual interviews begin. We all sit in a quant space outside the interview rooms trying to balance common courtesy with that spirit of competition that clouded the room. We all feel pressure to make endless conversation with each other and I find myself caught between being too quiet and not knowing what to say. Flattery never fails so I just ask questions about the current grad students and take mental notes.
As fate has it I am the last person of about a group of 30 to be interviewed. I’m so tired, thirsty, hungry and nervous by the point that I just want it all to be over. I step into an office with a very nice woman and Robert Landy (gulp) I don’t want his presence to freak me out so I just collect myself and relieve the pressure. “They either like me or they don’t,” I think to myself. The interview lasted about eight minutes and was by far the most painless part of it all.
I stumble out of the building and into the nearest place to get some food.
I did it. The ball is no longer in my court. Now the waiting game for 2-3 weeks and we'll see what happens!