An Ode to the Ag

During the course of my undergraduate career, I stage managed one show after another in the Agassiz Theater, beginning with The Gondoliers in the spring of my sophomore year. Seeing the theater full of people during a performance was always a special experience, but my favorite moments in the Ag were the quiet ones. While the seats were still empty and the dressing rooms not yet buzzing with the sound of actors getting into costume and warming up, I used to turn on the aisle lights and sit on the edge of the stage. In those moments, I always imagined I could feel the theater waiting, wanting to be filled with music and laughter and life.

One of the last visits I made before leaving campus in March 2020 was to the Ag. Fellow board member CRBS turned on the light board, and we made the stage glow purple and teal and amber while we played music, danced, and soaked up our last moments in the theater. Eventually, the others headed off to pack and make plans for their departures. Left alone in the space and not knowing how long I might be away, I turned off the light board and returned to my familiar seat on the edge of the stage. The aisle lights cast a gentle glow, appearing in the darkness of the theater like rows of perfectly aligned stars.

As my time at Harvard comes to an end, so too does my career as a stage manager. I may never again be the one to open the theater, to feel the quiet anticipation that fills the Ag in the hours before a performance. But I will remember that feeling forever.

—AMH

Reflecting on Virtual Wine & Cheese

Last fall, I returned to my dorm from a late-night rehearsal for our Fall 2019 production of Pinafore to find a letter slipped under my door. The neatly-addressed envelope contained a card embossed with the HRG&SP logo, inviting me to the organization’s Wine & Cheese celebration. The annual event offers an opportunity for HRG&SP community members to break out their cocktail attire and enjoy an evening of refined revelry with friends from productions past and present.

As a member of the Board and the Wine & Cheese committee this fall, I struggled to imagine how we might capture the spirit of the event in a virtual format. Replicating the energy that comes from sharing the same physical space seemed a daunting task. Yet my wonderful fellow committee members kept the faith, and we began to adapt the event for Zoom. Hand-addressed envelopes were replaced with Paperless Posts, and breakout rooms allowed attendees to move between conversations within the call. Rather than making group grocery store runs to pick up absurd amounts of cheese, we all arrived on Zoom with our own favorite varieties. When all was said and done, a tenacious few remained on the call until well past 3:00 AM.

Virtual Wine & Cheese reminded me of what is most important about the event. While I love putting on a cocktail dress and munching on fresh fruit in the Signet, I have always most enjoyed having an evening dedicated specifically to spending time with other HRG&SP community members. It is an opportunity to reaffirm our bonds and to enjoy each other’s company, putting aside the stress of midterms and the chaos of the semester. While fancy invitations and cheese boards are lovely, Wine & Cheese 2020 has proven that all we need to enjoy the event is each other (although a block of apricot Wensleydale certainly does not hurt).