News and Notes

Living the Theatre Life: January

PYTCo actress Lily Schwartz is known for her role as Dorothy Gale in PYTCo's 2018 production of "The Wizard of Oz". These days, she's earned the experience of a lifetime with Lancaster, PA's "Sight and Sound Conservatory. Each month she'll be providing updates as to what she's been doing and learning. Check out her January update below:


Hi, all! Wow, what a crazy month it has been. I feel like I have lived here forever but also feels like I moved in only a few days ago. This newsletter I think is going to be one of the longer ones, considering I’m including all the moving in details in addition to classes and rehearsals, so bear with me!  I am already making some really great friends within the conservatory, cast, and with my host family. In addition to being in classes and then in rehearsals, I’ve been trying to really see and get to know the area, because I know once show opens I’ll have a lot less free time. I’ve been to Downtown Lancaster, some cute cafes and libraries, and to different friend’s houses in the area, and I’m getting a hold of the lay of the land a lot quicker than I thought I would.      I moved in on January 2nd, and had that first weekend to really unpack, and get the stuff I needed for my little apartment. My mom was with me from the 2nd to the 4th and was a huge help getting me settled in. My host family was also so amazing making sure everything was ready for me when I arrived, and so getting settled didn’t take that long at all. That weekend I was invited to go to Kenzie’s house to meet everyone in person before we got thrown into Orientation. We have all gotten along pretty swimmingly since the very moment we all met and I’m beyond grateful for that.      My first week of classes was a quite a whirlwind. We had Orientation which consisted of a huge tour of the building, and a luncheon with our teachers to meet everyone. This week we had Improv, Ballet, Voice & Speech, MT Dance, Acting, and Singing for the Stage. Most of these classes consisted of getting to know you exercises, syllabuses, and performing for each other. We also got a crash course in how to do our makeup for shows, and a meeting with stage management. I also had my first costume fitting this weekend! I have a total of 15 costumes, and they are all ornate beyond words. I can’t show you pictures, so you’ll just have to come see them in the show! I also have 4 wigs. They’re all very dark and Persian looking. This weekend a few of us Conservatory Students (SSC), went to Central Market downtown. You can get anything there and it’s all locally made and sold. It is such a hopping place, and for good reason.      The second week of classes we really started to get into the material of the classes. We had Discipleship, Voice Lesson, Tap, Sight Singing, Ballet, Voice and Speech, and Acting Classes. We also had another, more in depth orientation where we got to meet with the heads of the departments and learn more about the company as a whole. This weekend I went to church and then was invited to a game night at the house of an SSC alumni who just wanted to get to know us and pray over our rehearsals starting Monday. Thank you, Leah and Jackie for being such great hostesses!      The third week rehearsals started! We had read through Monday at the Trust Theater, where they talked about concept and set design and they had a traditional Purim feast for us over lunch which was so unique. We had our own little Purim, and for those who don’t know, Purim is the festival in which the Jews celebrate and read the story of Esther out loud in a theatrical way. They cheer and boo and get really invested so we did as well. We are actually opening Esther the week of Purim which is so, so cool. One of the concepts for the set design in this show is to present the whole Megillah, which is the scroll they read the story of Esther off of in Purim. Dan and Kristin the directors have done a really great job with their research and design of this show. And then we read through the script. They have a really cool computer set design program that allowed us to see what the sets looked like while we were reading the script which was amazing too. The rest of this week of rehearsals consisted of us learning the big dance numbers of the show and blocking some scenes.      This week, we have really been focusing on music rehearsals, and implementing blocking and choreography on the stage. We’ve been making pictures and making sure we can make all our entrances. The proportions of this stage and learning how to work on it has been a bit of a learning curve. I have never been on a stage this big, and they’ll ask you to mirror someone on the opposite side of the stage, and you can’t even see the person you’re mirroring. There’s an XY axis number system we use to help with that, and I’m just now starting to get the hang of that. I have also learned that you have to enter really early if you want to make it from the wings to center stage, cause the square footage is just so crazy. This week I also get to learn how to ride the Elephant! There is an animatronic elephant that Esther rides during the parade, and I am one of the Esther Body Doubles, and so I got to try that out. It is so much fun to be up in! I am also playing a baby elephant, and I got to try that out as well! The suit is pretty heavy, but it’s super fun to romp around in it, and figure out how it works. The costume itself is so, so cute.     There’s been a few other things that I have just learned in my first month living on my own.  1. Don’t go grocery shopping on Friday night, or Sunday afternoon. It’s too crazy.  2. Meal Prepping is time consuming but an absolute lifesaver. 3. Parking Garages are scary as heck and if you can come with a buddy, or find someone to help you, that’s always best.  4. Doing things on your own is sometimes even more rewarding than going with someone else.  5. That I am an old lady. Haha! I’ve just been going to sleep when I’m tired and so some nights I’ve been going to sleep at 9:00. I’m treasuring that now during rehearsals because I certainly won’t get that sleep once the show opens.  6. Finding a church you love is so, so, so important. I’ve been attending Worship Center and I’m so happy there. I feel very fulfilled and I’m getting to know other people there and hope to start serving there sometime soon.  Logistical Info: -    Tickets are selling really fast, so if you really want good seats and your preferred dates, go to https://www.sight-sound.com/ticketing/shows/title?location=lancaster to get those! -    If you find yourself just passing through the area and want to see if you can get into a show day of, please shoot me an email, because I have “Day of Ticket” discounts, and I might be able to squeeze you into the nose bleed section. There are no bad seats in this theater though. -    If you would like my address here please ask! I love getting letters and hearing from you all.  -    If you get tickets please let me know when you’re coming! I can come out to the lobby to greet you after if I know you’re here. Also, I can request to be in shows if I have that show off, so you can actually see me in the performance you’re attending.  Thanks for listening! Miss you all, -Lily P. Schwartz


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