The students in Webster Studio 1 are learning to talk and walk. That is, we’re learning to talk about how we move, and then to walk in new and unaccustomed ways. As Missy Vineyard teaches us in her Interterm course on the Alexander Technique, this is trickier than it sounds. It challenges everything we think we know about the connections between mind and body, words and actions, old habits and new awareness.
The student/faculty machine shop is nothing like the typical Amherst classroom, nor like the science labs all around it in Merrill. With its massive, dusty, cast-iron drill presses and grinders and its walls plastered with safety reminders, it looks, feels, smells and sounds like an arena of sweaty manual labor. For the three weeks of Interterm, though, it has become a classroom.
The lobby of Converse Hall looks different tonight. The area near the elevator has been roped off as an “archeological dig site.” Fliers on the walls and columns feature slogans such as Aliens are People, Too and Human? Alien? Questioning? Fine by me. Students are eating pizza and mingling with, among others, a sad clown in a rainbow wig. I’m not yet sure what all this means. What I do know is that Converse will soon become the scene of a deadly crime.
The sweaty palms. The thumping heart. I’m not even trying out for The Illusion—I’m just sitting outside Webster Studio 2 among the actors hoping to be cast in the play. But the quiet, nervous anticipation is contagious. When the director, William Cranch ’08, approaches me, I am reticent, flustered just trying to explain why I’m there.
fall, I was delighted to read an announcement inviting members of the
Amherst community to sell our wares at the second annual Campus Holiday
Craft Fair. I’d been making beaded jewelry since middle school and
crocheting hats since high school, so I figured this would be the
perfect place to show off my skills and to earn some Christmas-shopping
money. I got out my hooks and yarn and beads and set to work. I felt