Hannah Nies is a student at Wellesley. As part of our #GivingTuesday Story Share, Hannah offers her story of how a spur-of-the-moment first encounter with HVSF made her final night of pre-college freedom a little more bearable:
A rental car crammed full of bins and suitcases, two passengers: a harried mother and a college first-year on their way to orientation, a pair of play tickets buried somewhere in the glove compartment, under receipts and napkins; these were the items that made up my last night before being dropped off at college.
I was nervous, and understandably so. Moving across the country at any age is a daunting prospect, but for an eighteen-year-old fresh out of high school, it appeared an insurmountable obstacle. That night, instead of allowing me to stew in my juices, as I’d been doing the entire trip, my mother got us tickets at an outdoor repertory theater neither of us had ever heard of. The play: Pride and Prejudice, newly adapted by Kate Hamill.
As we approached the tent, an oddly shaped silhouette against the backdrop of the Hudson Valley, I weighed my doubts. I was no stranger to outdoor repertory theater, being an avid viewer of my local theater company, American Players Theatre. But the stress of leaving my old home, and in a way, my childhood, behind, left me with more skepticism than normal.
I shouldn’t have been skeptical. From the moment the lights went down, we were plunged into a breakneck-pace screwball comedy, with costumes being flung across the stage as a group of seven actors switched between two or three roles apiece. By the time it was over, the audience was shrieking with laughter, no longer the disparate units in which we’d entered the theater, but a mass of joy, of glee. The next day’s problems would still be there. I would still have to get up and go to college, to a new world. But for a little while, I didn’t have to be alone.