In addition to performing center-stage at DeBaun Auditorium and singing in the Stevens Choir, Julia Cahn is a second-year Engineering Management major from Rockland County, NY. She is on the e-board for the Stevens Dramatic Society (SDS), is in the President’s Ensemble, and is a sister of the Theta Phi Alpha sorority. Her hobbies encompass everything theater-related.
Julia’s love of the performing arts grew from her humble beginnings as a lighting board operator in high school. “That’s why I do it,” she says, “I do it because I love it.” From there, she got involved with student-run plays and then began performing Shakespeare and other plays. She emphasizes that one of the most rewarding aspects of theater is showing an audience at the end of the rehearsal process what she has been working on.
Keen problem-solving skills are integral to a successful production. Thinking on her feet helps her make it work. This familiar dogma carries over into academics, whether it is a seemingly impossible design project or code that will not compile.
Julia relates her major, Engineering Management, to producing a show. She explains, “[It’s like] you’re producing an engineering project. You have to have everyone come together in order to make a final product.” A strong leader, Julia, puts her ideas into action. She just finished producing “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” which was performed in Bissinger this past weekend. Julia adds, “If you have an idea for something you can make it happen.” At the end of her second semester, Julia had the idea for “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind.” Now, the play has become a reality. Julia took an idea and turned it into reality, just like an entrepreneur!
The production consisted of 30 plays in 60 minutes and was a combination of audience interaction and casual theater. Audience participation allowed for a more immersive theater experience. Through this experience, she learned about self-directing and had her first experience both producing and acting in a play. Julia explains that “Too Much Light” sought to get audience members to discover a “new sense of self,” while also being a theatrical production seeking to bring people together.
Analogous to how a soccer team has different positions, theater has different roles depending on where your passions lie. If you like to sew, you can consider getting involved with costume design. If you like to build things, perhaps set design is more up your alley. Real technical abilities are needed, and when everyone’s skill set is focused towards a specific goal, amazing things can happen. Julia emphasizes, “there is no definition as to who a theater person is. We all have different skills that come together for a performance.”
“Just do it,” Julia says about joining a performing arts group on campus. Each of these organizations has different time commitments, so find one that works best for you.
In the future, Julia hopes to participate and support more Stevens productions. Julia will soon be working on the Stevens fall main-stage production of “Rumors,” which will be performed in November.
In order to get more involvement in the arts, people need to get out of their comfort zone. “Try something new,” Julia suggests. “Audition for an SDS show—there is so much to learn. I’d love to see the arts grow on campus.”