To use a phrase from a buddy of mine when I was in college, I want to drop some “real-talk”. I tried to write something extremely elegant here. I had written half of a blog post that used a lot of fancy words and beautiful language. It was separated into various themes and I used the word “grow” a lot. My second most used word was “grows”. Not that I wanted to try and write in an artistic way and/or write like a true Vermonter…but I did. Ya got me. It’s beautiful up here in Vermont so I wanted my words in the post to match the exquisite and breath-taking views and experiences that Vermont offers.

But that’s not who I am. I’m a young man from Yonkers, New York. I know very little about the outdoors except my vast knowledge of Atlantic City, New Jersey, and I’m pretty sure cheese and boxed wine are the real deal up here. The reason that I am up here is because I am a member of a family. The Vermont Shakespeare Company. Run by husband and wife ultimate tag-team combo, Jena Necrason and John Nagle, the family atmosphere is always embraced. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is my second full production with VSC and one of many times working with the company be it at readings in NYC or coming up for wine-tasting paired with Shakespearian-scenes fundraising events. I’ll be honest. I don’t come up here for the cheese. Beautiful as Vermont is, I don’t come up here for the view. I definitely don’t come up here for the money. I come up because VSC is my second family. My home away from home. I’m comfortable here. Always learning. Always having an amazing time. I’m protective of this theatre company as well. Not just because it was the company that gave me my first job right out of college, but because I just respect it so damn much. John and Jena are two of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, and I’m not just saying that for a role in next summer’s Shakespeare. Why are they inspiring? They truly care for their actors for starters. For the audience and community, they have founded a company that creates innovative ways of presenting Shakespeare with a STRONG emphasis on enacting positive change in the world. As an actor in this company, they use actors as human beings, always asking us to share ideas and experiences to further the artistic vision of the show and theatre company. Each summer consists of young and old company members but also brand new faces, old and young. It’s an ever-GROWING family. There’s that word. I tried. But let’s definitely use it here.

While playing Puck, I have been blessed to be the Education Coordinator this year for VSC. This year’s education component is the largest it’s ever been. Not only do we have a returning team of interns ranging from various ages of 14 and over, but through a brand new partnership with the University of Vermont, UVM students are a welcome addition to the internship program as well as some who are in fact performing in this year’s show. I’ve had the opportunity to teach some classes offered in the Professional Internship Program: a program consisting of classes such as Voice and Speech, Movement For Actors, Stage Combat, Business of Acting, Scene Study and Intro to Monologue Work, and from my experiences so far, I can honestly say that VSC is reaching the youth of the Vermont community in an extraordinary way. Aside from getting an accelerated and intense connection with one of Shakespeare’s great works, working side by side with theatre professionals, and learning of future career opportunities through workshops and immersion, VSC offers the youth of the Vermont community to be a part of their ever-growing family. Without their help, the show doesn’t get put up. Literally. And lastly, VSC embraces the family atmosphere to its supporters and audience members. It’s a place that wants its audiences full because it’s a theatre company reaching out with arms wide open. It’s the VERMONT Shakespeare Company. Vermont is its home. Everyone can be a family member. That includes the young attractive Price Chopper employee who winked at me yesterday…Chris, the manager of the Woolen Health Club gym, who strikes up a conversation with me every time I walk in even though he barely knows me…and even the various singers from The Mule Bar across the street who keep me up all night.

Lastly again, I’ve seen realizations and discoveries in class work in members of our ‘Intern Team” and wow, is it beautiful to watch. Discoveries about acting, life, art, love…and for me…Nick of Yonkers…that’s the beauty that lies up here. The discovery that I fully believe each one of us has here. That we are all a part of something. A family. A family that I am so proud to be a part of, working with people I am so lucky to know. I just dropped the mic. That’s how blogs work, right?

Posted by Nick Piacente, Puck/Education Coordinator and Company Member

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