Common Application essay - Advice for improvement?
*****Before I start this, I would like to list where I'm applying: Brown University, Cornell University CALS, Ohio University (Honors Tutorial College), The Ohio State University, University of Toledo, and Yale University.******
"Aha! Caught ya! I hear ya, brat, I always hear ya. Now get up! I said, get up!"
It was December of 2014 when I was cast into the role of Miss Hannigan in Lakota High School's production of Annie. I specifically auditioned for the role of a lovable redheaded orphan who would be adopted by the wealthiest man in Manhattan. I could imagine myself singing "Tomorrow" and "Maybe" as I hoped to escape from Miss Hannigan - and yet there I was, channeling my inner wicked, middle-aged alcoholic as I found myself reading the script of the woman I wanted to run from.
I struggled to have the attitude required of such a role. I attempted reading the script through, but I found that I didn't understand her character. To accurately portray Miss Hannigan, I needed to look deeper into who I would soon become onstage. She was the antagonist - and that was my problem: I needed to view the script not from the point of view of a spectator expected to hate her, but from a completely different perspective - hers.
When people think about cancer, they think of a horrible terminal illness that perhaps meant the death of a loved one, or maybe a battle they struggle through every day trying to inhibit its growth with chemotherapy or radiation. From the perspective of the disease, it's really just a cluster of cells that must do all it can to survive, with the side effect of harming another being in the process. Similarly, Miss Hannigan needed to survive the difficult economic times and panic of the Great Depression, which meant fumbling through a job that she couldn't handle, while trying to find a suitable rich husband. The drunk, borderline insane, businesswoman was unable to manage the many children in the orphanage. Like cancer's current popular therapies, the best solution for her was almost as miserable as the problem.
When people think about eating that delicious, juicy hamburger, they don't think of the pain that a cow somewhere endured to provide that hamburger; they think of how they have been nourished with a satisfying meal. The egotistical, ridiculous antagonist didn't necessarily think of how Annie would suffer by being misled in her plans with Rooster and Lily; she thought of how finally, she would never worry about financial trouble again with the compensation from Mr. Warbucks.
Even though her point of view was flawed - and at times, downright evil - to her, it was completely legitimate. Still, nothing could've prepared me for the exhilaration of performing "Easy Street" as I sang about a malicious plan to trick Annie into believing that Rooster and Lily were her parents. When I heard the way the audience laughed as I danced horribly - note my 13 years of dance experience - and how I delivered the lines, I knew that I'd captured the role to the best of my abilities.
As I "drunkenly" staggered across the stage, swatting stuffed animals away and yelling at children in between shrill screeches disguised as singing, the audience responded with laughter. As the performance continued, I invited them to empathize with my character-to see things as I did--through the eyes of Miss Hannigan.