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The cast of "Senior Year" and the directors grouped together on stage.

Constructing a play in 6 weeks may seem like an incredulous task, but one of my good friends challenged that idea when she revamped the Black Underground Theater Association (BUTA). Ajayda Griffith '27 and Mahi Tessema '27, co-presidents of BUTA, directed the play that Ajayda wrote about her senior year in high school. After Ajayda constructed the script for the play, she rounded up a few people from mutual friend groups to act, and created a comedic masterpiece!

Ajayda, the director and writer of the play, posing with flowers on the theater's stage.
Ajayda Griffith '27, the co-director, co-president, and writer of the play "Senior Year," hosted by the Black Underground Theater Association.

At first, the entire cast and the directors would read through the play to familiarize ourselves with the lines. We would practice in the mural room of Shabazz, Ajayda's Living Learning Community, trying not to bump into the furniture. As the weeks flew by, we upgraded to the real deal: the theater behind the Hood Museum of Art, on Currier Place. Backstage was like a whole other world, Three separate segments of curtains to shield the cast when shifting places.

The main cast of the play.
The main cast of "Senior Year" in the play's visuals.

Surprisingly, most of us had never acted before. I've had my moments of theater in elementary school, but stepping onto that stage was a different ball game. While I struggled to properly remember my lines and remember what side of the stage I would enter, I eventually settled into my character's shoes. 

Then, showtime came. The second and last day of our play was my favorite, the seats of the theater being filled to the max with students. The audience's energies were electric, laughing at every banter and joke in the play. Two representatives from the theater department watched our play as well, showcasing  their approval. 

A sensation of success filled the air as the last curtain fell and the hallowed halls of the theater echoed with applause. In just six weeks, BUTA had not only overcome scheduling restrictions, but also created a comedy masterpiece that had an impact on audiences much beyond Dartmouth. We also knew that the spirit of BUTA would go on, stoking the sparks of creativity and friendship for future generations of students.

If you have an intrigue for acting but have no knowledge of it, joining your friend's play may be just for you. There are acting classes you can take to fulfill your art distributive requirement, as well. Other theater organizations on campus, such as The Displaced Theater Company, have opportunities for participation. At Dartmouth, opportunities are endless where passion is concerned!

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