Author: Ashley Dayne Bostwick

Nights at the Theatre by Amanda Langell

Being the Broadway enthusiast that I am, I was ecstatic to find out the plays put on by the REP here at the University of Delaware are of equal caliber to the shows lining the streets of Manhattan. For a little over two weeks, the REP has been showcasing two plays at once: Red and The Things We Do For Love. The plays are wildly different; while one focuses on abstract messages of life through art, the other delves into the twisted feelings of love present in a three-story home. However, despite their contrasting tones and messages, both scripts are compelling, brilliantly executed, and effortlessly manage to captivate audiences.

Red highlights the relationship between Mark Rothko, a well-established artist, and his new employee, Ken, in a breathtakingly intimate performance in the Studio Theatre at the University of Delaware. The two characters battle through their individual ideas concerning art, life, and commercialism for ninety minutes with no intermission. It is an organic display of passion as principles of the past conflict and interchange with introductions to the new world of art. There are no overdramatic costumes, flaunty sets, or any other material objects that would take away the rawness of the performance. As an audience member, I felt every pulsating wave of emotion emitting from both actors on stage and left feeling inspired by the ideas presented throughout the show.

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How to Watch the Sunset by Gillian Zucker

Every day, we travel to another world where we can do anything and be anything we want to be. We are scientists researching cures to deadly diseases. We are pilots, flying high-speed planes to tropical destinations. We are authors or artists, receiving praise for our masterpieces. If I told you that this alternate universe existed within your reach, would you believe me? With the help of the services and apps that our phones, laptops, or tablets grant us nowadays, we can do anything and be anything we want to be. But are we losing something in the process?

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Villanova’s Upset: The Magic of Sports by Amanda Langell

Some monumental things have already happened in 2016: Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar, the trailer for Finding Dory was released, and Justin Bieber now has dreadlocks. The world of pop culture and cinema has a way of drawing everyone into a seemingly endless void of fame, debate, and gossip within seconds of each new event that sweeps the tabloids. Even though people are consumed by the drama of Hollywood, when it’s the month of March, all of that comes second to the NCAA tournament. Suddenly, every commercial on television is about March Madness and everyone around you is talking about college basketball, whether they are a big fan or just making a bracket for charity. For a month, it is a pulsating time that is undoubtedly more noteworthy than Justin Bieber’s dreadlocks.

There is a certain passion that erupts when watching sports that cannot be duplicated. Sure, when Leo won his Oscar, everyone was extremely happy, but after three minutes, it was over. There was no jolt of electricity like there is when thousands of people scream for a common cause in an arena for an extended period of time, all wearing their team’s colors and almost dizzy with anxiety and excitement. The adrenaline that causes fans to instinctively spring up and scream in ecstasy when a tied game is decided in the final dwindling seconds is, in my opinion, something that is unique and unprecedented. It produces tiny strikes of lighting that curl around your heart, dance around your chest, and refuse to simmer even when you are trying to sleep that night as opposed to the ephemeral feelings Hollywood draws from us. The NCAA final produced all of these emotions and more with Kris Jenkins’ buzzer beater three-point shot to bring glory to Pennsylvania.

When you think of colleges with power basketball teams, the obvious answers are always Duke University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Kansas. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is always up there as well, so it did not surprise anyone when they made the final. But Villanova? They are not typically on that list; however, they prevailed throughout the tournament and managed to upset UNC with their offensive determination. With the last possession of the game and only seconds left on the clock, Villanova had to make something happen quickly or else the game was going to overtime. When Jenkins set his feet for the three and let the ball leave his hands, millions of eyes, both in the arena and at home, followed the trajectory of the ball as time seemed to slow down. The country went silent and then it erupted in chaos. There are some occasions in sports that unfold as perfectly and dramatic as if they were scripted and they just do not compare to the faraway events happening on the west coast. There is an overwhelming element of human drama in sports that makes moments like these historic and everlasting, both in the minds of fans and on the replays of ESPN.

Why I Dance by Gillian Zucker

Sadly, everyone has been affected by cancer in some form. From the day I understood what this horrible disease was, I decided that I would fight it once and for all. So, I participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event in my community, later becoming its Activities Co-Chair and Event Lead. In these roles, I put on a successful event that celebrated cancer survivors, remembered the loved ones we have lost, and fought back against the disease, while funding cancer research. Naturally, I wanted to continue my involvement in the fight against cancer at UD, but I wasn’t sure where to start.

Now, let me tell you something about myself. Everyone who knows me and ever sees me in any sort of celebratory setting (proms, weddings, even in musicals) says that I’m a really bad dancer. I’ll admit, this is pretty true. And while bad-dancing is exhilarating, my skills – and stamina – typically quit after a simple “Cotton Eye Joe.” As you can imagine, when I first heard about UDance, the University of Delaware’s 12-hour dance marathon, I was very excited but also a bit overwhelmed. To me, a three-hour-long school dance where I was fist pumping and jumping to Kris Kross’s “Jump” seemed like a lot of time and a lot of energy. For weeks, I wondered: “How do the dancers and moralers at UDance keep up their energy for 12 hours straight? Why do they dance?”

Soon enough, the answer came to me. In the fall, Joe McDonough was invited to Redding Hall to tell the residents his story. I could feel the tears falling from my face as he spoke about the passing of his son, Andrew, after his battle with leukemia in 2007. In order to honor Andrew’s life and help other kids (our “B+ Heroes) who are battling childhood cancer, McDonough started the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. The money raised at UDance helps the B+ Foundation directly support the families of our heroes and fund pediatric cancer research. In this moment, I had an epiphany. I thought back to my own experience helping fight cancer with the Relay for Life. I signed up to get involved in UDance immediately.

When we raised $1,701,667.81 on March 13th, when we proudly displayed our “B+ Foundation” gear all year on campus, and when we pledged to be dancers or moralers at the event, we were not doing any of it for the pictures or primarily for our own enjoyment. We did it all FTK (For The Kids) so that one day cancer in every form will be a myth of the past. Oftentimes, when we are busy with our own lives, we forget just how much of an impact we can have on others. But we need to remember that when we are involved in UDance all year, we are making a difference and saving lives. And that is exactly why I dance: for a smile, for a life, for a cure.

Setting Sail on the Disney Dream by Amanda Langell

I am deathly afraid of water. If I am at the beach, I make sure to stay an obnoxious distance away from the ocean. If I’m feeling particularly brave on the day, I’ll plant myself right where the tide recedes, only letting the tips of my toes get wet. I always stay behind as I watch my friends gallivant in the giant waves behind my favorite pair of sunglasses with a book in my hands. I am perfectly fine with the only water in my life being out of a bottle or from a showerhead. Nothing tragic ever happened to me to condone this irrational fear in my eighteen years alive (however, experiences in past lives are unaccounted for), so my mom did not think twice when she surprised us with a Disney Cruise for Christmas.

Another crucial bit of my life—my family has an unhealthy obsession with Disney World and we travel there at least twice a year. I am always looking for any excuse to dive into the magic, but the magic is always on land. My older brother, forever helpful and supportive, told me to “get over it” because we were docking in the Bahamas at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. I couldn’t exactly complain, because come on, it is a Disney Cruise.  I swallowed my rambling thoughts, quelled the nerves swirling around my heart at thought of being surrounded only by an endless sea, and packed my suitcase of summer clothes despite just having a snow storm in New York.

The ship was extravagantly beautiful, from the gigantic twisting staircase and the hanging gold chandelier in the lobby to the highest deck with the Mickey-shaped swimming pools. The vast array of restaurants all eager to serve free and unlimited food was also incredibly enticing. After an hour aboard and several meet and greets with Goofy, Minnie, and Daisy, I completely forgot about my paralyzing fear. The atmosphere was so hypnotic that the lapping waves did not enter my mind once. My first day was full of melting ice cream cones, animated paintings that actually moved, and plays that were Broadway-caliber. I was blissfully happy, void of any worries.

The ache in my chest didn’t return until we were getting ready to disembark at Castaway Cay. I didn’t want to be a bore—after all I was on vacation—but I was resolute in my decision not to wade into the foreign waters despite the protests from my sister. It wasn’t until I had taken in the picturesque scene around me that I felt the shift within myself. There are a few times in life when you experience a rare moment of complete clarity, and seeing the perfect, wave less, turquoise water in front of me was like waking up from a long and overplayed dream. I wasn’t going to sink to my death when my feet could touch the wet sand below; I was going to be fine and more importantly, I was going to have fun. Needless to say, I got over my fear pretty quickly.

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