“Struggle & Joy:” Student Perspective on the Move to Virtual Classes Part 6



Contributed in quarantine by Emma Welch

Part 6 in a series of 6 – Catch up on Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4, & Part 5



The thoughts I’ve shared through this series are only a small portion of the conversations I’ve had. And those conversations are only a small portion of the whole community and student body. I wanted to paint as honest and complex a picture as was imparted to me.


But this moment in time is infinitely varied and complex and emotional.


In our conversation, Fern brought to my attention a really incredible and resonant Björk quote:

Fern becomes part of the scenery in her quarantine in Mt Tremper, NY


The more digital we have, the more naked skin and rawness we will want.”


She said of it: “I am so curious…..we’re going through this phase, but what is it gonna be like when we get back to the Studio? Like fireworks. I’m envisioning like a rapid surge in our work. Because we’ve lacked that physical energy and contact and when that gets reintroduced, I’m incredibly curious.”

I, too, am curious. Inside all this change, our humanity is the one constant. And if anything, we are becoming more in touch with the things that make us human through this experience: our desires, our fears, our passions, our needs, our hungers…….




I’m in Justin Cimino‘s Clown Workshop. Last class, he shared with us a clip from Cheryl Strayed‘s latest podcast “Sugar Calling.” The guest, writer George Saunders, read an email he wrote to his students at Syracuse University. You can listen to the whole thing here.


But to sum it up, he advised his students to “pay sharp attention.” To keep record of everything you are thinking and feeling and noticing about this moment in time and your place in it. Because when it’s over, it’s going to be the job of artists, especially young artists, “to help us make sense of this and recover afterwards.” 



Herkül shows us how to be still

So please: think, feel, watch, cry, scream, sleep, lose it, keep it together, grieve, share, sing, work, play, walk, wait and be. Really, our only job right now is to exist. The work will come later.

In my conversation with Deonna, we talked about the importance of being still:

“As actors, and as humans, I don’t think we’re used to being still. This is forcing us to be still. For people like me, when I’m still it drives me nuts. [But] it’s ok to not be productive. That is part of self-love, part of self-maintenance. It’s ok just to be still.”

So, allow yourself to be still. To take everything day by day. And remember that everyone is going through this with you.



In a moment characterized by terror, uncertainty, grief and isolation, community is an absolute necessity. I echo Fernando when he said,

“The more we’re in this Black Mirror-ish world, I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have this community, particularly headed by Terry. Thank god for that guy. I don’t even believe in God but thank the universe for that guy”


And I would add: thank the universe for all of you. To everyone I spoke with, to all the students I didn’t speak with. To all the faculty. To all the staff. To our friends and family. Just knowing you’re all out there existing through this alongside of me brings me a sense of ease.


Some day soon we will storm the halls of the Studio again. Hugging and shaking hands, staring into each other’s eyes from less than a foot away, rolling around on sweaty floors, bouncing our vibrations off the walls, sitting in silent concentration together in the sunny lobby.


Until then, keep the faith and keep our community close to your heart. And, as I’ve been signing off all my emails:

Stay safe. Stay sane. Stay Beautiful.

From my quarantine to yours




This is Part 6 of a 6 Part series. To read all, please visit our Blog


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