When Abby Chafe received word that the cast list for Miami University's "The Wild Party" had been posted, she ducked out of her physics class early.
When she arrived at the list, Abby's eyes went straight for the ensemble. Being a freshman, that was the best role she was hoping to get.
Abby quickly realized her name was not listed among the ensemble. She stood for a moment, wondering if she had not been cast at all, but then saw her name next to the character Queenie, the show's leading lady.
Once the initial shock wore off, the hard work began.
The intense rehearsal process began after J-term. It included learning the score of the show and then doing scene work and choreography. Queenie is a beautiful blonde at a crossroads in her life who has spent the last three years in an abusive relationship.
The show's assistant director had Abby research sexual assaults and read several victim reports through the rehearsal process. She found this work crucial so that she could portray the role with the dignity and authenticity it deserved.
Abby said the research was horrendously difficult, as it dealt with such a heavy topic, but she felt it was worth it. Not only was it important to help Abby better appreciate the woman she was embodying, but she also believes the research could help audience members connect and relate to her character.
Connecting to people through performance is why Abby loves theatre so much.
"Art has the capacity to change the way that people think," she said.
As a theatre major with a musical theatre minor, Abby knows she is pursuing what others may consider an unrealistic path. But, she realized theatre was the thing she loved most and couldn't picture herself doing anything else.
Abby is working hard with the end goal being to teach theatre at a college, as she finds that theatre majors have the most passion and drive.
"I was meant to be creative and inspire other people to do so," she said.