B.S. in Biology & Geology
What is your favorite memory/show/experience with the Chantilly H.S. Drama Department?
I have to say that the final day of each New York trip, where everyone wakes up completely exhausted and heads down to Central Park to play clumps by the fountain, was one of my favorite things to do every year. There's something so delightful about doing something so ridiculous and joy-oriented in a public space- it makes it more enjoyable both for us as players and for people who are just going about their day, I think.
How do you think taking theatre arts has helped you with your current job?
I currently am working on managing the back side of college-level STEM labs, and I've found that it's almost just like stage management. I work with all kinds of crazy personalities, manage inventory, and keep things running on the clock and correctly while labs like fetal pig dissections and fossil identifications are happening around me. It's a ton of logistics and organization that happens in real time, and I wouldn't have had those skills without my stage management experience in high school, which was really my first introduction to that particular brand of organization.
What was your favorite show that you worked on at Chantilly H.S. and why?
I loved working on Day Six for the VHSL competition. Something about the high pressure nature of travel, a time crunch, and the structure of rules of the competition really brings out the best in people. It can really narrow people's focus and it was always so exciting to see people put their game faces on. Especially for a comedy show like Day Six, I think it really drove my friends and fellow actors to up the ante in terms of humor, which audiences tend to reward. Being in a competition environment really helps elevate a show's energy level, which is exhilarating.
I think people may not realize how important theater skills can be in all kinds of environments. In my current job I'm known as the "fix it" person- I handle all kinds of problems from all kinds of people every day. My managers and the professors I work for really appreciate that about me- and it's a theater skill through and through. The adaptability I have is entirely due to my experience backstage and onstage- and I wouldn't have had those skills without Mr. Monk and Ms. Spicer.
Hannah Grudi as 'Erronious' in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum (2014).
New York City Trip. March 2014.