By Irina Rusanova
Michael Doelling, Saint Vincent College junior history major with an interest in Europe and America, loves theater and travel. He reflected on his study abroad trip in Europe during the 2018 fall semester as well as his involvement in the upcoming Gilbert and Sullivan show.
“I studied abroad for six weeks each in London, Paris, and Rome,” Doelling said.
In Paris, Doelling had a host family since he resided at a homestay.
“For each of the cities we were in, on the second week of each program, we went on […] ‘study tours’ […] we went to different cities,” he explained.
Doelling also traveled to Liverpool when he was in England, Brussels when he was in France, and Florence when went to Italy.
Doelling was able to take both core classes and courses geared towards his major.
“[…] At one point, at the very end […] this drove my parents crazy […] I just decided to hop on a plane and go to Spain,” Doelling said.
Doelling revealed that he had wanted to see Hieronymus Bosch’s painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights, in the flesh.
“I remember seeing one of [Bosch’s] paintings as a child and being […] disturbed, but also fascinated,” he explained. “That painting has always stuck with me throughout my life […] [Now that I’ve seen] it, it’ll always be with me.”
Studying abroad is all about taking chances and discovering wonders outside the borders of home, and Doelling’s experience perfectly illustrates this.
To balance his schoolwork and activities, Doelling prefers to complete tasks one at a time within a time-frame of thirty minutes.
“I try to do everything I can […] in thirty-minute increments. That helps me a lot,” he said. “And if I can get it as well done as I can quickly enough, then I think that’s great.”
Doelling learned about the increment system this year and has found it effective. However, he steers away from taking on too many tasks at a time.
“I don’t want to spread myself too thin, and then put poor-quality work into things,” he stated. “I’d rather just do a few things well.”
Doelling became interested in acting for the Gilbert & Sullivan Players when he first entered Saint Vincent.
“In high school, I was always used to doing a play in the fall and then a musical in the spring,” he said.
Doelling wished to maintain this consistency in college, which led him to act in a G&S play in the fall. Because of the positive community which made up the club, he chose to continue as a player.
Doelling limits himself to one show a semester.
“Then, I can put way more of my heart into it,” he explained. “Shows are a lot of work and take a lot of time.”
Despite taking part in some events hosted by the other acting companies on campus, he found that he enjoyed G&S the most.
As a G&S member with past experience in the group, Doelling does his best to act as a role model in order to entice his fellow players to maintain a fun-loving, yet hard-working, morale.
“I try to keep up a high spirit, keep everybody happy, but [also] stay on track, stay focused,” he said.
In order to effectively take on his own role, Doelling said, he records himself reciting his lines so that he can improve his performance. He also applies what he has learned from his studies in history and from his study abroad into his roles to more accurately portray characters with certain backgrounds, personalities, and worldviews.
G&S allows students to have a certain degree of independence in what they present to an audience and how they present it.
“We’re very autonomous, self-governed,” Doelling said.
Even some alumni from Saint Vincent College continue to aid in the productions, performing tasks such as editing scripts to make them more manageable for the actors and producers of the group. The upcoming production requires a great degree of teamwork and cooperation from the players, the producers, and the stage crew.
“I play England’s Lord Chancellor,” Doelling explained. “He’s basically […] in charge of the House of Lords […] But really, [the lords] don’t do anything; they have no real important function whatsoever.”
The Lord Chancellor serves as the head of the Wards of Court, and he is attracted to one of the wards.
“And that’s […] kind of the whole show: me being romantically interested [in her] while she is trying to marry her real love interest,” Doelling said.
Doelling urged students to attend the show.
“It’s [going to] be great; we’ve been rehearsing, we’ve been practicing, and it’s [going to] be fun,” Doelling stated.