I’m really glad I had the opportunity to return to work the students of Shantou University on Pippin mostly because I have gotten to see a whole new side to a lot of them. Eating and sleeping with them in addition to working with them has given me a fresh perspective on their lives. Back when I started in September, I was convinced I had a bunch of misfits but really the students have individually wonderful personalities. I’ve gotten to spend more time talking about non-Pippin stuff with a lot of them. One is studying French, another is quite the table tennis opponent, still another can play Avril Lavigne and Green Day in her sleep. One is an amazing singer but not in a singing role, another is a cheerleading, another is a speech contest winner.
Looking back, I was very intensively focused when it came to putting on Pippin back in December. Even if in my heart of hearts I wanted to learn and know more about my students, I really did not have the time or energy to invest. But this time around, I got to know the students much better as we both let our hair down, so to speak. Obviously, I still had to keep some distance considering I had to act as the authority when it came to rehearsal each day.