Sophomore Bridgette Well’s upcoming role as NYC Woman in QuantUM’s production of “I Love You Because” involves her enacting a Jewish landlady, a lesbian and a cocktail waitress, but deep down she’s just another small town girl. Or is she?
Well hails from Oconomowoc, Wis., a city 40 minutes from Milwaukee with a population of 12,382, less than the total amount of enrolled students on the UM Coral Gables campus. While her hometown may be about the same size as UM, it’s a world away from the life on campus.
“A lot of people in my town were never really exposed to diversity as they should have been, like diversity in background, economic situation or even sexual orientation,” Well said.
Not only does UM provide a cultural change of pace for Well, but the campus offers her an outlet for a passion she wishes to pursue.
“I have always been really interested in human rights issues from a young age. In high school, I was president of the diversity club and I directed a show, but those interests always cohabited and I never thought to fuse them until my junior year in high school,” she said.
That year, Well discovered the emerging field of theater for social change from an international organization called Theatre of the Oppressed. After attending a convention for the organization, Well solidified her desire to pursue an acting career using the socially-conscious performing technique. This style of performance is used to “raise awareness about social issues, to initiate discussion or to facilitate communication between those who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice,” she said.
Through acting, Well appreciates that one can discover insight into the human condition.
“I’m someone who has a lot of interests, and theater really draws on a lot of different aspects of things I’m interested in like psychology, sociology and history because you have to understand the scope of whoever you’re portraying, where they came from and who they are,” she said. “For me, I really enjoy studying the nuances of human interaction because every little moment in theater is about a connection between two people, whether that connection is them hating each other or passionately in love.”
With a double major in communication studies and theater, Well hopes to combine her interests in social issues and acting by possibly initiating some theater for social change on campus. For now, she will be performing in her third QuantUM production, the musical “I Love You Because.” She has also acted in QuantUM’s “Songs for a New World” and “Reefer Madness.”
“The first time I met Bridgette was when I saw her in ‘Songs for a New World.’ I remember falling in love with her voice the moment she started singing,” said senior Alex Gonzalez, the chair of QuantUM. “[In ‘Reefer Madness’], she really brought her character to life on stage every night and it was a true joy to work with her. I have no doubt that she will go far in her career.”
From the moment she stepped on campus, Well knew she wanted to work in on-campus productions because acting makes her happy, she said. She auditioned for the main stage shows at the Ring Theatre, but was never cast. Then, she stumbled upon QuantUM.
“I didn’t really fully understood what QuantUM was when I auditioned for it, but I’ve been really impressed by the students that are involved in it because it’s really a collaborative effort among a lot of different entities,” she said. “In student work, you have to bring a little more of yourself to it, you really have to be self-sufficient because it’s not necessarily a commitment to someone else who’s going to give you a part later in life, it’s a commitment to yourself to have fun.”
Whether it is her peaceful and lighthearted countenance or the passion she exudes while on stage, Well has made an impression on those she has worked with in QuantUM.
“Bridgette is very hard working and always comes to rehearsal with a positive attitude,” said senior Sarah Zemach, the director of “I Love You Because.” “She has a great energy about her on and off stage.”
“She has shown great range as an actress throughout her work with Quantum,” he said. “I have no doubt that she will go far in her career.”
Alexa Lopez may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.