Students Make College Acting Debut in First-Year Show

Emily Ma ’21 and Catherine Marshall ’21 toast to life and murder.

Photo by Aidan Acosta

Emily Ma ’21 and Catherine Marshall ’21 toast to life and murder.


Two homicidal bridesmaids drinking away jealousy at their best friend’s wedding. Manic office drones trying their best to recapture the creative dreams that brought them to New York City. Two people falling in love over years of meeting in a pizza parlor. These diverse stories and more were brought to life in this year’s edition of the First Year Show.

Last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the 22nd annual First Year Show ran in the Hepburn Zoo. Before an audience of friends and family, a group of new inductees into the Middlebury drama community performed a selection of 10 and 1 minute plays centered on modern life and love in New York City. Although stories about teenage boys trying to summon mermaid lovers in Central Park and a woman falling in love with a parasite did not appeal to my aesthetic, each story deftly touched on the pain, confusion and occasional enlightenment that come with modern love and friendship.

Some vignettes, such as the story of office workers trying to reclaim parts of their artistic passion in the face of spirit-breaking office work or a woman holding on to a parasitic lover whose bleeding her dry, drew laughs as they hit so very close to home for certain members of the audience. Others stood out for the emotional weight they carried, such as the tragic epiphay one character endure as she reflected on the superficiality of social media-driven friendships. Another story captured the joy of two awkward people tongue-tied by love breaking through their shyness to come together.

The range of all these performances created a chaotic but pleasing montage of moments. Although some of these pieces did not resonate with, I still felt drawn in to the sheer enthusiasm that all of the performers approached this event with. That is the magic of the First Year Show. In the presence of their families and friends, performers began their dramatic life at Middlebury with the exuberance that can only come from diving into new experiences. There seemed to be a tangible feeling that, for the students acting and the people watching, that a new juncture in life had been reached. One pregnant with possibilities. The drama scene at Middlebury can only be bettered by their ebullience, energy, and enthusiasm.