Rachael Morris ’24 is a sophomore theatre major.
“I did color guard for about two years. I could only do it for that long because I turned my focus to theatre, and it was really hard to do both. I wish there was a world where I could have done both, because I have a lot of love for it. Especially with the rifles—they’re my favorite. There’s just something about the gracefulness of it, but the strength that comes with it as well. It was very sad to have to leave, of course, but I just have this genuine love for theatre that I needed to focus on.
We had a show called “Shuddersome: Tales of Poe,” which took some of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems and put a twist on them. We definitely did the scariest ones, like “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and we dressed up in this creepy Victorian garb with red ribbons. There was one part where I got to play dead—the lights would come up, and I’m hanging off the stage—and people would freak out every single time. We took that one to the Thespian Conference in Columbus. That was really great, being able to perform outside of my hometown, Fayetteville.
This sounds terrible, but we were truly telling the story by invoking fear in the audience. It was just really fun to see people actually react. Because, of course, that’s the goal with theatre—the audience is who you’re catering to. And my favorite thing about theatre is that if you’re doing a good job, the audience is part of the show, too. I love the idea of being able to transport someone from the real world where they might have all of this grief or terrible feelings. But for two hours, at least, they can just not think about any of that. They can be taken somewhere else. And even if it’s something fearful, it’s still comforting, the way that a scary movie is comforting.
That was my junior year. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get to finish out my senior year, because of COVID. The last show I did in high school was “The Addams Family.” Another sort of dark, scary show. I played Morticia—it was awesome. I really, really liked that role.
My mom is the biggest source of inspiration for me. When she was 19, she moved to America from Brazil—alone. She worked very hard for a very long time, and it was difficult, because she was a single immigrant mother with two kids. Eventually she met my dad, moved to Georgia, and I was born. But even with all the things my mom went through, in Brazil and especially in America—financial hardship, cultural adversity, racism—she still pushes on. She’s one of the smartest people I know, and one of the kindest.
For me, I see that she worked so hard to get here. And so I want to give back by being the best version of myself. I need to take advantage of the better life I’ve been given. And once I get established in life, wherever I am, I’m gonna give back to her. Buy her a perfect house. Because after everything she’s done, she deserves it.”