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Two Recent Graduates Return to the LA Theatre Classroom

Two Recent Graduates Return to the LA Theatre Classroom

By John Bishop

Groton, Mass. — It started with a plan to "drop by." And it turned into much more.

Recent LA alumni Demetra Danas and Elizabeth Crandall, known better on campus as "Meech" and "Bitsy," recently brought some collegiate perspective to a current Honors Theatre class at Lawrence Academy. 

An email to Theatre Director Dennis Canty from the pair soon had the Class of 2022 standouts speaking to fellow Spartans, both new and familiar.

"He replied in all caps," said Danas with a laugh. "YES PLEASE, Wednesday is perfect!"

"It was just so fun, so cool. Even though I haven't really 'done' theater since I graduated, you get right back into it, 

"It's like no time had gone by at all," she said.

"It was cool to be back in that same space," added Crandall, "especially [with current students] doing some of the same things we worked on last year.

"And it was awesome to be able to work with people we didn't work with," added Bitsy. "I mean, our class was so small last year, so it was cool to be able to jump in.

"I'm very close with [many in the room], so it was awesome."

Also excellent was being able to model for their fellow LA actors how to take advantage of an opportunity.

You see, to the pair, it was unique opportunities that characterized much of their LA experience. Moreover, trying, and sometimes failing, in those times also helped the now college students.

"I mean, there are so many different opportunities to try so many different things on a small scale first here," said Crandall, whose name was ubiquitous on many athletic rosters, club lists, and playbills at LA. "You could [try] anything that will push you into this new realm, but you don't really feel this weight of pressure from everybody else.

"It also sets you up in college to be able to do similar things; you know what I mean? Because 'failing' is something you have to get good at when you become a college student, which I wasn't anticipating."

Meech, a very successful senior class president, agreed with Bitsy's thoughts on "the try."

"Yeah, because in reality, your class size is so small," said Danas of her time at LA. "So our [senior] theater class, were like eight kids, but even in other classes, like you're only with 12 other people.

"So if you fail, there are only 10 people around you. It's no big deal. So that kind of sets you up to take that risk on a small scale [before tackling] a big scale."

Demetra said she still enjoys smaller classes at Trinity (in Hartford). But Crandall explained her introductory courses at Syracuse often have her leaning on those positive failures.

"A hundred percent," emphasized Bitsy. "It can feel so different, especially because I attend a large university that doesn't prioritize... seminar-based classes. You often walk in, and you have 40 other people — at least a minimum — in those classes.

"And being able to feel confident enough in yourself and your opinions to use your voice to speak up and to be involved in that; it's totally something I learned here."

Hopefully, the younger Spartans who encountered Danas and Crandall took notes.

Thank you for visiting, Bitsy and Meech!