My friends often tell me that I use the phrases, “Oh I went to an arts high school…” or “Coming from an arts high school…” too much to explain my behavior. They’re right, but I don’t know if they always understand why I use it. My artistic side makes me feel like a dandelion in the perfectly cut lawn of grass that is Silicon Valley — I’m out of place, different.
But here, in the heart of the tech world, I found a theatre community. I found Gaieties.
It all started in fall quarter of Freshman year when a friend told me to audition for this wacky show that serves as a good intro to the theater groups on campus. That show was Gaieties. After showing up to an audition room full of people in onesies and tutus asking me to twerk and tell a bad joke, I knew this wasn’t going to be like my high school production of Anything Goes.
A week later we were in a whirlwind of rehearsals. The show was a 1.5 hour original musical packed in with cynicism, irreverence and sexual innuendos. And I was having the time of my life.
The strangest thing about the Gaieties process was the people. Now, I must admit I am used to being around arts people, considering I basically majored in Musical Theater in high school. But the Gaieties community was something different.
Just like the Stanford community, Gaieties was full of talented people with passions outside of the theater, but they craved the intersection of theater and the irreverent things in life. At build, crews would spend days and days building pieces of the set just for the ironic reference the piece had in the script. Others would commit a whole quarter into writing the music and lyrics of the show just for the laughter it brought everyone.
Through this irreverent community I made some of my best friends at Stanford in just two weeks of being on campus. We hosted parties together, had Special Ds, went on spontaneous trips late at night and generally did everything any other frat does. (Yes, Gaieties is a fraternity.)
So if you plan on it, Gaieties has a very early rush season — around week one of Fall Quarter. The rush process itself isn’t that hard if you like to have fun and laugh or if you place any value in the arts. And the benefits from a Greek organization like Gaieties are all across the field: lifelong friends, training in the arts, plenty of parties and the honor of hosting one of the most popular three-night all campuses in MemAud annually.
So while I’m not the rush chair of Gaieties (nor is it really a Greek organization — yet), I feel the need to emphasize that the theater community at Stanford is an underrated group of people. Artists hold each other up, and Gaieties is no different. We listen to each other’s feelings, we cheer in the back of 106A when Mehran mentions “typecasting” and we revel in one another’s successes. The support I’ve found in theater here makes me feel content being a dandelion in the field of grass. Maybe different isn’t so bad here after all.
Contact Chris Huntley at chuntley ‘at’ stanford.edu.