Last Call: Chris Fitzsimmons

Until the class of 2013 grows up and leaves us, BlogDH wants to highlight all the interesting things the class has been up to. Each featured senior will tag another senior for the next installment. Find this year’s other “Last Call” chain here.

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Then + Now

People might know me as… a few different things I think. It depends on whom you ask. For some, I’m the guy who went to Russia to study acting. For others I’m that guy who played Tomtom in PW’s production of Goose and Tomtom. And then of course there are those who know me as the guy who wears plaid shirts a lot and big sweaters.

In my time at Brown, I am most proud of… all the friendships I’ve made. I know, a lot of seniors have already given this answer, but I think that’s a testament to how spectacular our student body is. I really couldn’t have asked for more supportive, loyal, honest and entertaining friends. I’m proud to have such great people in my life and to have shared four fantastic years with them.

On a Friday night, you might find yourself… going to an opening show at PW or the GCB. Actually, most of the time I’m doing both. However, back when I lived on campus, and before I was 21, I was usually playing Bananagrams, Slap Cup, or laser tag in the outside courtyard of Grad Center. And how can I forget the Gate and Jo’s? I spent far too many Friday nights closing out both those places.

The best class/professor at Brown is… It’s hard to say which professor is the best, as a couple come to mind right away: Professor Morone (City Politics) and Professor Pollock (Russian History), but I think I’ll have to go with Professor Connie Crawford. She teaches the Theatre Department’s introduction class, also known as TA3. I’ve been lucky though, in that I’ve actually had her teach a class of mine on three separate occasions. The first was when I was a Theatre Bridger at Brown during the summer before my senior year in high school. In all honesty she was a big factor in why I ended up applying to Brown Early Decision. Then, I had her freshman year and then again for a surprise semester in my sophomore year, when she ended up filling in for a professor on medical leave. Connie could ask me to do anything and I would do it in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t even think. There aren’t many people I would say that for. She has pushed me in ways I didn’t even know possible, along the way helping me to find my backbone, funny bone, and what she dubbed, my “goofy” bone. She will always have my utmost respect.

Three things you wish you knew freshman year…
1.)  Off Campus is really not that far away! It’s definitely worth exploring. India Point Park is one of my favorite places. The view is amazing.

2.)  I wish I knew I would change my mind about a thousand times and that that would be OKAY. I had this fear freshman year that making any “wrong” decision would end being this catastrophic disaster and I would never be able to recover– far from the truth. Jump in with full force, if you hit something or sink a little, you’ll find yourself making your way back to the top. A place like this won’t let you sink.

3.)  The Athenaeum Public Library. It’s located at the corner of College Street and Benefit and is my favorite place to study. Go and check it out, you’ll see what I mean.

Ratty vs. V-Dub… You just can’t beat Chicken Finger Fridays. Every other day at the V-Dub is pretty mediocre compared to the Ratty though, in my opinion, but Chicken Finger Fridays make the V-Dub the clear choice here. Also, I have to go with my former local dining hall from freshman year. I lived in Champlin and nothing beat going to dinner in my sweats. Unit 20 Cash Money!

The weirdest object I have in my apartment is… The 5-ft skeleton my housemates and I have hanging in our living room. My mom sent it to me for Halloween. She insisted that I decorate the house. I think she was pretty excited that I’d be getting trick-or-treaters. I haven’t lived in a neighborhood with trick-or-treaters since I was 12. Needless to say, the skeleton never made it onto our front door and instead has made a nice home for himself on our living room wall. His name is Gus. He’s chill. I think some people still don’t quite understand him.

Chris + Gus hangin' out

Chris + Gus hangin’ out

One thing you wish you had done… part of me really wishes I had been in a main stage Theatre Department show during my time here, but it just never happened. That’s alright, it’s just the business of theatre. And honestly I’m a student theatre guy through and through. Nothing beats PW. I do however have one more semester, so you never know…

The best random thing you did in your time at Brown is… I got naked for a performance piece I was in last spring. It was a devised movement piece called Guests and was directed by Ari Rodriguez. Participating in the show itself isn’t that out of the ordinary, but the act of getting naked in front of an audience of 85 every night is definitely something I never expected I would do. Since then I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me saying they recognize me from somewhere. At first they’re hesitant to say, but I know immediately because they start looking at their shoes. “Did you see Guests?” I ask. “YES! I saw you naked” they say. Yes, yes they did.

After graduation, I plan to… To be honest, it usually changes once a week, but at the moment I see myself moving to either Los Angeles or New York City to pursue my passion for film. Not right away though. This summer I’m planning on taking a filmmaking course at NYU and then in September I’ll be back on campus for my final semester of Brown. During my sophomore year, I decided to take a semester of leave when I found out I was going to be studying at the Moscow Art Theatre School. Sophomore year had been quite an up-and-down year for me and I saw the semester of leave as an opportunity to hit pause and step out of what had come to be normal. I guess I needed time to breathe and wanted a chance to find a new perspective. It was an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience for me and that’s why when I graduate (for the second time?) in December I hope to take some time for myself again, before I jump right back into the busy pace of the “real world’.

(Ben’s Question) What did you expect to find before you came to Brown? Did you find it? I thought by this coming May I would have a concrete clarity of purpose. I thought all my questions would have been answered by now. Who was I kidding? Sure, questions were constantly being answered during my time at Brown, but those answers only led to more questions. Instead, I currently feel like I have more questions for myself than I did when I first came to Brown, but honestly I’m completely comfortable with that, though I don’t think my 17-year-old self would have been. I used to be afraid of the unknown, but now I find it exciting. I’m also still looking for Josiah Carberry. I know he’s around here somewhere! 

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you during a theater performance? This is more of a funny experience, but for a final in an acting class my sophomore year I was assigned to play a 12-year-old Catholic schoolgirl. I wore it all: a typical plaid skirt, high white socks, purple glittery converse shoes (still not sure why), a tight white school polo and floppy dragon fly hairclips. The roar from the audience when I walked on stage made me almost pee myself. It was the hardest time I’ve had as an actor keeping it together on stage. The situation was just too ridiculous for me to handle.

Who are you tagging next? Mike Hill. I lived with him freshman year. He’s one of the greatest listeners I know and genuinely a really good guy. I can count on him for a smile, even when I may not want it. Oh, and we had a huge room in Champlin with a private bathroom. You certainly can’t beat that.

Chris’s Question: What’s your favorite place to go on campus and why?

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