Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Written By Sinéad McMullen

It’s safe to say that “Getting out of your comfort zone” is the perfect phrase to sum up my time with DCU Drama. Unlike many members of the society, I threw myself into the ring in my second year of college, when I was no longer a wide-eyed first year. Before this, I had been taking part in shows with my local musical society, a place that was like a second home. I registered with DCU Drama at the Clubs and Socs fair each year, but admired their shows from afar.

However, things soon changed when it was announced that DCU Drama would be performing ‘Chicago’ for their annual musical in my second year. Straight away, my interest was piqued. Hardly they were going to be performing one of my favourite musicals? I decided that it would be one hell of a show, and that I’d definitely go and see it when the time came around.

I forgot about it for a while until the last few weeks of semester 1, when there was a general buzz amongst my friends that were already involved about the impending auditions. I started to consider going for it; if I didn’t get in, I wasn’t losing out on anything. Whatever happened, it could still be an enjoyable evening to check out how the society navigated their audition process. I decided to go, and in true Sinéad fashion I showed up at the very last minute to sign up, utterly drenched by the downpour of rain that evening. I was bowled over by the turnout on the night, and therefore shocked and utterly delighted when I made it into the cast!

Nerves crept in on the first night of rehearsals when I considered what I was walking into; all of these people already knew each other, the friendships were for sure cemented by now, I probably wouldn’t get a chance to become close with many of these people.

How far from the truth that was.

The next few months were a whirlwind of long rehearsals, San Sabs, Ivy Nights™, and forming lasting friendships with unreal people. The best days of any rehearsal period are spent lounging around on the floor, eating snacks that everyone brought for the day and whispering amongst yourselves as a scene, song or dance unfolds before you. I knew, long before the final curtain of this show, that I would be there to stay.

My final year hit me square in the face – nonono oh boy NO I was not ready to leave.I threw myself head first into the year, starting off with Drama’s production of Love Always, Charlie. This close-knit group was truly something special – we were all so excited to bring this piece of theatre, adapted from the film “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, to life! I am still in awe of the production team’s ability to translate something from stage to screen so seamlessly.

As the final semester of college drew closer, I decided that I wanted to complete my time with Drama the way I started it – with the musical (also, I just really like RENT)! Alas, Ms. Rona decided to introduce herself at this ample time and threw us into complete disarray. For the first time in our lives, the show could not go on, which seemed a foreign concept to all of us. Many of us who were set to graduate felt as though our time had been cut short, as if we were in the middle of enjoying an ice-cream cone that suddenly fell to the ground (we love a dramatic analogy).

Without harping on too much about ‘Unprecedented Times’, I decided to take full advantage of the year of grace that clubs and societies in DCU offer. This opportunity was a source of comfort, and a relief from the tedium and worry that quietly sat in the back of everyone’s minds. I will admit my scepticism when I first heard of the plan to move shows online, but then realised that this would be the perfect opportunity to re-connect with everybody. I decided to hop on the bandwagon and give it a shot, and managed to scratch my performance itch with Renati: A Series of Monologues. The best part was being able to sit back and watch everyone’s performance; the worst was hiding behind my door when my part came on because I could not bear to watch myself for a solid 4 minutes.

Of course, I knew that this semester would really be the last time I could be involved. After a lot of deliberation, I made up my mind to try my hand at a production team, as I had never been on the other side of the table before. I went for director of Little Shop of Horrors, and managed to get the role! I write this just after finishing up our first week of rehearsals over Zoom, and to say I’m thrilled is an understatement. After only a week, it is extremely apparent that this entire cast is something special, and will blow you out of the water – stage or screen. Special shout out to the rest of the production team who I am very much obsessed with – Dylan, Emer, Caitlin and Andrew.

While my journey with DCU Drama feels just that little bit too short (I am aware I have stuck around longer than anticipated but leave me be), I leave with such fond memories of this society, and that is down to the people in it. Without being too much of a SAP, I have never met a group of people that are so inclusive, like-minded and genuinely such a sound bunch.

For anyone that is nervous to dip the toe in and become involved, whether with Drama or another outlet: DIVE IN. This year has been so tough on us all, so give yourself the chance to explore new opportunities and have some fun. When a return to normality eventually presents itself, you will be so thankful for the friends you made (and can finally see in real life; right in front of your eyes!) and the support they offered you during this time.

While all good things must come to an end, this one will be particularly bittersweet.


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