Fourth Year TFDP Major, Khalif Gillet Speaks to His Experience in “Spring Awakening”

In All, Music, Theatre by admin

Spring Awakening is a show I had been a fan of for a few years now. Through browsing musical theatre songs, I stumbled upon one called, “The Dark I Know Well”. I didn’t quite understand the song, but the sound of it was simply captivating. Through doing more research of the show I found out how electrifying and how brilliant it was; but I had never imagined that I would get a chance to perform it.

A few months before our production, I had seen the Deaf West production of the show, while it was on the West Coast. The production was phenomenal and a brilliant reimagining of the show.

Fast-forward a few months after seeing the production and I’ve been cast as Moritz alongside some incredible artists. Our cast was comprised of performers of different ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. I was soon about to learn that seeing the show, and being in it were two wildly different experiences. Doing the show from an actor’s perspective, you really understand the show’s importance; not just as a youth, but as a human being with curiosities.

Not only did the show teach me more about my acting, but more about myself as a person.Khalif Gillet, TFDP Student '16
When I got the role of Moritz I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work and that I really wanted to do the part justice. So for the first two weeks I really tried hard to get into the character’s headspace and emotions. I knew Moritz was a character that was very sensitive to the weight of life and his problems were always at the forefront of his mind. Or at least that’s what I thought he was. But what really helped me understand this character and all of his subtleties were the discussions I had with different cast members. We would all spend hours on end blowing each other’s mind with text analysis and possibilities for interpretation of the material. Through this, we found that we began to bond as characters, as well as a cast.

This show and role was one of the most challenging for me as an actor, so far. I wouldn’t consider myself a musical theatre type of actor, so just getting the opportunity to do this was a feat in itself. But in doing it I began to learn to have confidence in myself; and in that, realizing that confidence takes you just as far as talent can. But as for the talent part, this production really demanded that I bring in everything I’d learned in my training from our department. And by the end of the process, I had created a role that I was proud of and that was uniquely mine.

Not only did the show teach me more about my acting, but more about myself as a person. The greatest lesson I got from it was how to be vulnerable with a group of people all having a shared experience. I felt safe to be a part of this world on stage with all of these people. On the closing night performance I knew that I could’ve done this show for many weeks and months more.

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