I And You

February 13, 2018

A week ago, my director, Judy, said to me, “I think that sometimes we do plays at points when we need them.” I think she’s right.

For the past month, I’ve been in rehearsal for a two person play called I And You, written by Lauren Gunderson. When I found out in November that I had been cast, I was shocked, ecstatic, and a little terrified. Yes, there were a ton of lines to learn, but my fear came out of wondering if I could do this story justice.

My character, Caroline, is 17 years old and has liver disease. She lives out of her room and doesn’t go out much. Because of her isolation, she’s pretty bitter and self-hating. When a classmate named Anthony shows up at her house to do a group project, her whole life changes. Because of her sickness, Caroline has a hard time loving and accepting herself.I talk a lot in my personal life and on this blog about my own struggles with loving myself. For me, it sometimes feels absolutely impossible. There are times I feel like I hate my body or like I can’t get out of bed. There are still moments when I doubt myself completely. But this past month has given me so much.

Me at 17 in real life. Weird, kind of bitter.

Playing Caroline has been such a challenge but also a blessing. Getting to come in and experience the journey of learning to love myself and have hope for the future has been eye opening. In many ways, I feel like Caroline a lot. It’s so easy for me to hate everything and pretend not to care and see myself and my body as the enemy. So what a gift it has been to be told onstage night after night that I’m wrong.

This past Sunday we did a full tech run of the show and I cried. I cried onstage, in the moment, as I remembered why I love acting, why I love telling stories, and giving that to other people. And I cried because I realized how much this experience has given me and how very lucky I am.

Thank you a million times over to my Anthony, Nick, our fearless leader, Judy, all of our beautiful-beyond-words designers and production team, Lauren Gunderson, and this crazy, bitter character I get to step into every night. You’ve all taught me more than I can express.

If you’re interested, I And You opens this Thursday, 2/15 at 7:30pm. Performances: 2/17 at 8pm, 2/18 at 10am and 5pm, and 2/19 at 7:30pm. Boston University College of Fine Arts, room 356. Come see!

  • Reply
    February 15, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Terrific, Willa — thank you for sharing this! And … I wish I could be there!

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