Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In Their Own Words: Apprentice Appreciation

The New 42 Apprentice Program creates paid employment opportunities for a diverse group of high school, college and graduate students across the city. Apprentices are assigned to a department depending on their personal fields of interest and work alongside theater staff and technicians throughout their tenure. They gain first-hand experience in performing arts administration and meet weekly with members of the New Victory Education Department to review the program’s curriculum.

Imagine giving a college student the opportunity to enter a fast paced, innovative company for twelve weeks as an apprentice in the heart of New York City and actually learning, working, and contributing in a way that doesn’t involve buying coffee or making copies. 

Hi! I’m Kris Byrnes and I was lucky enough to be one of those apprentices this past fall. As the Media Production Apprentice, you’ve probably seen my work if you’ve watched any videos in our theater or on our YouTube channel. If you're curious, watch my work here. 

During my apprenticeship, I was given the seemingly simple task of writing about my experiences. But as my title indicates, I generally express myself in a visual medium. Luckily, I also have a secret, deep-rooted love for spoken word poetry. While I don’t very often share my work, I couldn’t think of a better creative style to explore, or a safer space than with a company like The New Victory. And here it is, the final product that sums up my experiences:
I have a dream that never involved this city
I have a dream that never involved this theater
I had a plan to stick to the path
all the while, straying is what comes naturally

I do best when wandering in the woods,
only to find the river that no one has seen before
the ever changing water that is different for each new hand that breaks its surface

the river that is New Victory

the river that is New Victory, that started as a trickle
and has since become a waterfall
that washes over every person it touches,

even this small town girl that gave up everything
even this small town girl that came to the city
like every other artist, actor, dreamer
chasing the ambition that drove us here
chasing the fantasy
that perpetually dances just beyond
the brush of your fingertips
just waiting for the push
waiting for the pull
for the moment
when the dancing dream is suddenly dancing with you,
instead of away

when the fiery light possessed within the sparkling eyes of the next generation
reignites the passion you forgot existed
when the window that opens just beyond
the door that bloodied your
face in its haste to slam shut

is wider, and taller, and grander

the window that is New Victory

the window that is New Victory,
that opens eyes and minds to the impossible

I was going to learn what I wanted
I was going to be who I thought you needed me to be
I was just going,
but then the world stops
and you look up, you see what is real,
and you grow up, grow wise
to the only option left standing
to learn from what is around you
to appreciate the support of those who can teach you
things you didn’t want to know
things you didn’t think you needed to know

but now, you are better
now you are bettered

I am bettered
and no matter how many times

I tried to get off the path to where I am

I learned that where I am
wherever that may be
is exactly where I am supposed to be 

Thank you for helping me expand my skills and my self-confidence. But even more so, thank you for letting me just be… well, me.

Kris Byrnes is a senior in the Film Department at CUNY Brooklyn College. She has a strong interest in combining the worlds of recorded film and live theater, with a focus on screenwriting and production. Kris is currently in production for her thesis film and will graduate in December 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Kris,
    Thanks for sharing something so personal. Among other things, your poem made me think about the phrase "New Victory"-- while I know there is historical significance behind the name of the theater, I heard something else in your words: the concept of old victories being less satisfying than the feeling of new victory. New Victory is more than a place, it's a state of mind. Break a leg in your future endeavors.