Theater and Performance Studies BA Projects

Justin Lee

Project Title: Athletes and Injuries

Biographical statement
I’m Justin and I’m a fourth-year Economics major (and TAPS minor) from Connecticut. I’ve always had a love for movies and a fascination with acting, which is why I decided to take a TAPS class during my first quarter in college. I never would have thought I’d become a TAPS minor, but I couldn’t get enough of TAPS classes… I enjoyed and grew so much from them. Now, a few years and many TAPS classes later, here I am!

Project Statement
Over the first-half of our thesis meetings, I often felt torn about what I wanted my project to be. I was fortunate to have an amazing support group around me, and after brainstorming a lot of different ideas, my classmates and Leslie (our amazing Professor) provided the advice to create a project that had a lot of meaning to myself personally, rather than solely focusing on the entertainment of the audience. I took that advice to heart, and I eventually figured out that I wanted to do something relating to my tennis career and how it fell apart, which was definitely personal to me and on my mind a lot. So, for my BA thesis project, I decided to interview two other athletes who also had career altering injuries and place their stories along with mine within a 20 minute audio file.

During this past quarter when we were working on our projects, I was also taking a TAPS class called “Oral History & Podcasting” with Professor Sarah Geis, which helped me realize that I wanted to use interviews and create a podcast-like audio file. It was great to be able to directly utilize the skills and tools I learned from that class, like an application called Reaper, for my project. Also, just a few quarters before that, I took a different TAPS class called “Performance Art Installations: Performing Diaspora” with Professor Pam Pascoe where we also gathered a lot of different oral history recordings and interviews. I’ve taken three classes with Professor Pascoe over my college career and she always challenged us to be open, honest, and personal (shoutout to Pam!). Overall, it can be said that these TAPS classes that I took along with others really emphasized to me the importance of sharing one’s story and listening to the stories of others… which was a big inspiration for my project.

In the audio file (my project)… myself, Josie, and Turner speak about our athletic careers, respectively. I got connected with Josie through Dara (a classmate in my BA Thesis class), and Turner is my friend from college. I wanted my audio file to go no longer than 20 minutes, so we each spoke for around 6-7 minutes. For Josie and Turner I edited their 1 hour long interviews into 6-7 minutes, which was extremely difficult because I wanted to include it all at times. There’s no intended message or lesson in my project… I just wanted to highlight stories that had the common denominator of career altering injuries. I personally loved the opportunity to speak with Josie and Turner. It was nice to hear from others who faced a similar struggle that I had, and it was also interesting to hear their occasionally different perspectives and attitudes toward the challenge of an injury.

Artistic Project