Navigating a Semester of Uncertainties: Meet Carrie Welter

There are seven days until CAS junior Carrie Welter returns to her home in the San Francisco Bay area of California. After a quarantine filled to the brim with episodes and recipes from the Great British Baking Show and quality time with her family and beloved cats, moving back to Boston into her Bay State brownstone was startling. Still, she’s learned how to make it work. 

Carrie’s decision to go across the country to attend Boston University wasn’t as hard to make as it may seem. On moving to the opposite coast, she said, "It doesn’t really make a difference whether it’s one state over or the entire country over– you’re still feeling away, the mileage doesn’t really matter.” While she certainly considered other schools, BU came out on top because of its accessibility and incredible location. 

Although she knew BU was the right choice for her, Carrie came to college undecided on her major. She had a longtime theatre background so numerous people naturally expected her to major in the arts. But, for her, one piece of advice proved critical: “So many people said do not major in theatre unless you cannot imagine yourself doing anything else.” Reflecting on this, along with her passion for reading dense history books, Carrie could imagine herself doing other things. 

Carrie is currently pursuing a major in History with a minor in Core. You might ask, what’s Core? Currently consisting of thirteen total courses, The Core Curriculum dives into the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences; it also exposes students to professors and classmates from a wide variety of different disciplines. The best part: it fully covers the BU Hub requirements. Carrie loves “the specific brand of nerdiness” that Core offers its students; she has taken this strong enthusiasm for all things Core and translated it into her work as the president of The Word and Way Society, otherwise known as the Core Club. In the future, she hopes to combine her love for academia and artifacts by working in a museum. 

Although she ultimately took another path professionally, Carrie’s love for theatre persists. Carrie has taken to the stage in several BU productions, including BU Shakespeare Society’s productions of The Winter’s Tale and Taming of the Shrew and BU Stage Troupe’s productions of Footloose and Assassins. The latter was one of her favorite theatrical experiences to date. 

Assassins– Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece musical exploring the successful and unsuccessful assassins of US presidents– had long been one of Carrie’s personal favorites. While she was already excited to just be involved in such an interesting show, her role was the icing on the cake. Carrie portrayed Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, notorious member of the Manson family and attempted assassin of President Gerald Ford. Far different from her typical ingenue roles, Squeaky gave Carrie the opportunity to test her limits. 

"I love theatre because it’s storytelling, it’s an opportunity to be someone you’re not…" she said. "It’s very cathartic to play into these situations that maybe I haven’t gone through yet or I won’t ever go through– it’s really fun to explore that.” 

This past spring, Carrie was supposed to co-direct the musical If/Then for Stage Troupe, but COVID-19 had other plans. Ever since, Carrie has been desperately trying to collect scripts and sheet music from cast and pit members now scattered across the country. More than anything, she sympathizes with everyone involved in the process.

“People put so much work into this, and I can imagine being in a show that I was super excited for and having that get canceled," she said. "I’d be devastated." This sentiment has been echoed throughout theatre companies around the world as the pandemic continues to stall and hinder the creative process. 

Fortunately for theatre fanatics like Carrie, theatre resources are gradually moving online. For instance, in Stage Troupe’s online summer show Pygmalion, Carrie had the opportunity to assume a Cockney accent and play an adaptation of one of her dream roles– Eliza Dolittle. She also directed a short play for Troupe’s One Acts event over Zoom back in October. While adapting the piece to Zoom wasn’t too difficult, coordinating subtle movements (like stolen glances between scene partners) was a challenge– one that wouldn’t exist under normal, in-person circumstances. Having been on both sides of the online theatre spectrum, it was these moments of necessary scripted contact that made her wish even more to be back in a physical theatrical space. 

Carrie has been involved with the BU Shakespeare Society for several semesters, but this semester she was able to test her skills as a voiceover performer. For the first time, the group recorded and produced audiobooks for two of the Bard’s shorter plays. While adapting a play to a nonvisual medium has its obstacles, Carrie was grateful to return to the rehearsal landscape– even if it was entirely virtual, it provided some feeling of normalcy. Her previous experience in Shakespeare Society has helped her tackle these complicated texts with greater confidence, and her work on the audiobooks pushed her to refine her delivery and focus more on relaying information to the audience through her inflection and tone. 

Being on campus during the pandemic has not been a cakewalk. Especially without a roommate and without in-person classes, Carrie has found it harder to socialize and focus on work. She misses the moments spent with friends at Bay State Underground eating unhealthy food and playing games. Online extracurriculars and the interactions they spark have kept her sane and grounded.

As a fully remote student, I couldn’t relate more. Even though clubs and organizations aren’t operating normally, nothing else really is either. I’m just happy that they’re operating at all; they’ve helped students like Carrie and myself navigate a semester of uncertainties.

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