Last Call: Kate Brennan

As the semester progresses at the speed of light, the senior class is beginning to make peace with that fateful day in May: Commencement. Until the class of 2014 leaves us, BlogDH wants to highlight all the interesting things they’ve been up to. To this end, we’re (re)starting the series Last Call, which features seniors reflecting on their experiences at Brown. Each featured senior will tag another senior for the next installment.  Find this year’s other “Last Call” chain back here on Saturday!

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Then+Now

People might know me as…
Someone once told me they identified me on campus as the girl with the shiny black combat boots. But, probably, the girl who directed Hair.

In my time at Brown, I am most proud of…
Directing Hair with Musical Forum. For sure. Hair is a show that has lived in my soul since the first time I saw it performed. To be able to unleash it here is something I will forever be grateful for. I can’t take all of the credit for it, though. Everyone involved contributed something so special to the process. I guess what I am most proud of is bringing all of those people together with the goal to create something meaningful and beautiful.

On a Friday night, you might find yourself…
Definitely starting the night with some performance on campus—a cappella concert, theater, comedy, etc. One of my favorite aspects of Brown is how much we support and appreciate each other’s work. Probably freshman and sophomore year I would have gone out to a party afterwards. Now, I’d probably go to a friend’s house to drink cheap wine and talk with people that I love! My house has this outdoor screened-in porch with Christmas lights, plants, and a futon. We’ve named it the Moon Room and it’s the absolute bomb. As soon it gets warm out I’ll be spending every night in there.

The best class/professor at Brown is…
I’ve been saying American Politics and Culture since 1945 with Robert Self since first semester. I’m pretty sure he said at the beginning that you’ll know you’ve taken something away from this class if you can sit at the dinner table at Thanksgiving and hold your own in discussions about American History. It’s been three years and I still refer to it. It’s one of the best tools I got at Brown. This past semester, however, I took 20th Century Black Feminist Thought and Practice with Tricia Rose. I feel really lucky and grateful that I got to experience her as a teacher. Also, it’s not a class, but FemSex deserves a shoutout here. So much growth for me happened in that semester.

Three things you wish you knew freshman year…

  1. Concentration requirements shouldn’t be a stressful thing until junior year at the earliest. Take what you are excited about because it WILL count in your concentration. Also, your concentration isn’t going to be the thing that gets you your job!
  2. Anyone who is too cool for anything you’re excited about is not someone you want to learn and grow with.
  3. Theater is not as intimidating as you thought it was!

Ratty vs. V-Dub?
RATTY. 100%. I’m obsessed. I’ve been the Ratty’s number one fan since as long as I can remember. Everyone loves to hate on the Ratty but it’s like, you get to enter a room with endless food, huge tables, and all of your best friends. Growing up in my family, mealtime was the most important time for bonding and sharing. At a certain point it doesn’t even matter what you’re eating but matters who you’re eating with. That’s what the Ratty has always symbolized to me. I made so many friends eating at those big tables, sharing ideas. I miss it so much. I guess the same goes for the V-Dub but I never felt the same sense of community and freedom.

The best random thing you did in your time at Brown is…
Freshman year I went on a Brown Outing Club adventure to Prudence Island to watch the baby seals chill on the beach. It was in that exciting time freshman year where everyone is just down to do whatever if it means they get to hang out with new people. We traveled to Bristol and took a ferry to this snow-covered island, which had a general store and like, 15 locals. We walked across the island for a few miles and at the end got to watch these amazing little creatures off the pier. It felt so off the radar of civilization. I ended up making some of my best friends on that trip; we were so wide-eyed and curious, and Prudence Island was like the birth of all these beautiful connections. It was pretty random though because like, what?

One thing you wish you had done…
Maybe some more outdoorsy-type stuff, like more BOC trips or BOLT. I feel like Brown could have been a great time to learn those skills, especially since most of my friends have a really deep relationship with nature. I’m just beginning to explore mine. I think my roommate Mali’o has been waiting for me to say that for three years now. Literally as I type this she’s looking at videos of the ocean floor next to me and I just want to watch House of Cards.

You’ve been involved in a variety of different student groups on campus, including (but not limited to) Musical Forum and ADOCH. What keeps you motivated/able to do it all?
I’ve always been a believer in the idea that if you love the people you are working with, you will love doing the work. Theater and The Bruin Club/ADOCH have such strong, supportive, and fun communities. I have met some of my absolute best friends in these groups. There’s not much motivation needed when you know you get to go to a meeting and create something incredible with people that you respect and love.

Which musical production did you enjoy working on most and why?
Wow, each one was so different! Hair was definitely the most personal and memorable. I owe so much to Spelling Bee directed by Emily Kassie ’14, the first show I ever worked on sophomore year, for introducing me to the theater world. I was so new so everything was so fun. Sunday in the Park with George directed by Ben Freeman ’13 taught me how intentional theater can be. But there was something really special about a small PW Upspace production I worked on junior year. It was called The Aliens, directed by Skylar Fox ’15. The process was so small—there were only five or six of us in the room at any given time. It was like we were all in on this magical secret with this brilliant play and sacred space. I never would have directed Hair if I wasn’t part of that. I think it really showed me that theater is not only for the performance but also for the process. We can grow as a team with the text we’re working on. That’s ultimately what Hair came to be about for me.

The weirdest item I have in my apartment is…
We inherited this little bobble-head pineapple man with sunglasses that doubles as a fortune cookie holder (?) from the previous tenants. It’s very odd but I love it so much. We also had a pet triops named Ollie who we hatched from a mail-order package. He didn’t last too long but definitely deserves a shout-out.

Your spirit animal is…
Black bear cub!

After graduation, you plan to…
Work at Digitas, a digital marketing firm in New York! I’m also not ready to give up theater and feminist communities after Brown, so I’m excited to seek those out. And I plan to become a better cook.

One piece of advice for underclassmen?
The ups and downs (moods, challenges, love, heartbreak) are not the means to reach the end but the actual experience of college itself. It’s not that come senior year everything will be perfect—it’s how you grow and learn from the downs and how you play in the ups that define your time here. I think all too often in my early semesters at Brown I didn’t validate the personal challenges I was experiencing. I thought they were just little blips. Now I realize that’s where most of my growing came from. And also savor your time in the Ratty, of course.

Who are you tagging next?
Lindsay Sovern; I want to be her when I grow up. She’s so insightful and gives the world’s best hugs.

Question for Lindsay:
What’s your go-to Blue Room Sammie?

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