by Gillian Gurganus

Gillian Gurganus is one of two Education interns at Trinity Rep. She’s originally from North Carolina and loves working at Trinity Rep.

“So, how’d you find out about this?”

It’s a question I get asked quite often, in regards to my internship. Most people are surprised to find out that I found my way to Trinity Rep from the third page of a Google search for “theatre season internship housing.” I know what you’re thinking, “Who actually visits even the second page of a Google search?” But I ventured past the secondary layer of a (very) late night “Oh My God What Am I Doing After College Graduation Help Me” search and stumbled upon the website I visit almost daily now.

That was a year ago. Not much has changed. I still journey to the second or third pages of a website, whether to find the restaurant on GrubHub which has the lowest delivery fee, or to figure out what a “bubblah” is and why everyone keeps asking where to find one.

But no more beating around the bush! I love my internship. I really do! I know what you’re thinking, “Aw, go on! You have to say that, Gillian!” But you’re wrong. (Also, I hope you pronounced my name with a soft “G” in your head.) When I come home at night, usually coming straight home from one of our school residencies, I like to summarize my day, thinking about how I felt about my work, what I need to do for the next day, or realizing that I left my leftovers in the fridge in the office…again.

And I’ll start laughing. I’m walking into my room, taking off my coat and backpack, and I’m just standing in my room laughing. I consider a day to be generally “good” if I laughed a lot. Those are the memories that stand out to me the most. I love that I am working somewhere where I can work, mess up, learn from a mistake, fix it, mess up again, learn from that mistake, and laugh. I don’t know about you, but my first hearty laugh after not having laughed in a while feels how I imagine finding the hidden immunity idol on Survivor feels. (I love you, Jeff Probst.)

These laughs I speak so fervently about are such a huge part of my day. I love discussing obscure southern culture with artistic management intern (and fellow Carolinian turned New Englander), Braxton, on the way to teach our Thursday Young Actors Studio class.** I enjoy having someone in the office who loves harmonizing to show tunes as much as I annoyingly do (“Natty D” a.k.a. Natalie Dreyer) and practically finishing Fatima’s sentences (and Friskie Fries) when brainstorming ideas for the study guides we assemble for each show. Being the competitive person I am, I love guessing which school buses will arrive first to a Project Discovery student matinee (and which street direction they come from, to boot) with Fatima and Matt Tibbs, even when it’s twelve degrees, raining, and I still haven’t acquired winter boots (or gloves) yet.

One of the things I love most about my days here are the students that I get to work with. I know I’m not the first person to say this, but seeing a student engaged in learning and making connections is the most rewarding feeling maybe…ever? I continuously count my lucky stars that I am somewhere where I experience that feeling regularly, whether it be onsite in our studios, or at one of our residency programs off site, like Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich. I couldn’t begin to count how many times I’ve laughed at or on the way to Rocky Hill, where I co-direct and co-teach with Tibbs twice a week- I’m talking the kind of laughs that bring tears and bellyaches in the best possible way.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I really do feel supported here. Don’t get me wrong, I also am fully aware that I’m a huge cliche, with my whole “Post-Grad: The World is My Oyster!” vibe, but I really do get the feeling that I’m going to remember this year of my life as the year where I lived in Providence, Rhode Island, was an education intern for a Tony Award winning theater (a fact that still has thirteen-year-old Gillian living in Shallotte, North Carolina losing her mind), grew as an artist and teacher, ate cold tomato sauce on bread called “Party Pizza”, worked closely with people I highly respected, was privileged to have opportunities I was passionate about that challenged me, expanded Jordan Butterfield’s Snapchat knowledge, and laughed.

I will be savoring these months I have left here, trying my best to live in the present and enjoy each giggle, chuckle, or chortle that comes my way.

Go visit the second or third page of Google sometime! That is no laughing matter.

Gillian and some of the kids she teaches