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CAS Alumni Profiles: Lorien Reese (‘06)

Lorien Reese

By Pamela Zak Proano, Communication Department Intern

Reasons as to why she chose to attend Calvin College
I chose Calvin because I saw a production of "As It Is In Heaven" at ACTF (the American College Theatre Festival). I was in another production that was happening there and when I saw Calvin's performance I absolutely fell in love. It was so elegantly done, so well-acted...it was one of those rare moments where the play ends and you didn't even realize that time had passed. It was that compelling. I asked to meet with the director, Stephanie Sandberg, and after a brief talk I knew this was where I was meant to be.
Her favorite part about studying at a liberal arts college
I've never been the type of person who only does one thing at a time. I adore theatre but I am also fed spiritually and intellectually by fields like philosophy, religion, history, sociology. Calvin was the kind of school that allowed me to grow as an individual and didn't pigeon-hole me into one field of study. I really feel like I came out a more knowledgeable human being, and not just a better actress.
Describe the aspects in which Calvin, especially the CAS department, contributed in your growth as a person and also professionally
I had the opportunity to act in multiple productions while I was at Calvin, and I found every one of them to be a challenging and incredible experience. I was asked to push myself further than I ever had as an actress, to question the text and the philosophy behind it in ways that I had never done so before, and to act in a respectful and responsible manner backstage—a skill that a lot of professionals are sorely lacking. In addition, I was given the chance to meet professionals who have helped me in my career, and I got the experience, through Stephanie Sandberg and Michael Page, to work in professional theatre as a stage manager and dramaturg. Because of this, my resume was well beyond others of my age when I left Calvin, and I was able to get into one of the leading schools in Dramaturgy: Stony Brook University.
Greatest lesson learned at Calvin
“The sleep of reason produces monsters.” I have always had a questioning nature, and Calvin taught me that this is something that should be treasured and cultivated. It was an incredible realization.
Her experiences after Calvin, graduate school and landing a job
I am one of the lucky few! I got into a graduate program at Stony Brook University, and I just graduated with my MFA in Dramaturgy! Right after I got out of school I was offered a position as the Program Coordinator at Robert Wilson's Watermill Center in the Hamptons. It has been a wonderful experience so far, and I consider myself very blessed to be here.
Some advice to prospective and current students concerning the theater major and how to make the best out of it
Make the most of your time at Calvin. Study and absorb everything! You will never get the chance to study so many diverse subjects, and you never know what will light a fire in you. I was offered a piece of advice by a theatre professor right before I left which actually shaped my decision to go into Dramaturgy: “Keep as broad as possible as long as possible.” Debra Freeberg said this to me when I was trying to decide whether to specialize in acting or to go into a more broad MFA degree. This is what drew me to Calvin in the first place, and this is what has continued to shape my decisions today.

Calvin Theatre Company website