One in 2000: Paige Peterkin ’16

I remember the first time I met Paige Peterkin ’16. It was at our first entry meeting last fall (shoutout to Willy E!), and we were all sharing embarrassing stories. While I giggled nervously throughout my story, she was calm, cool and collected despite the stress of sharing with a group of strangers. Over the past year, I’ve learned so much from Peterkin: how to be a responsible friend, a supportive presence and how, every once in a while, to embrace your inner wild side.   

What has your sophomore year been like so far?

It’s been really good; different than freshman year. I don’t know, I feel like I’m flailing a little bit being away from the entry, but at the same time, I’m really into a lot of things. Obviously I have a lot going on with classes, but I also have a lot of theater things that take up my time. I’m glad to have the hustle and bustle back. It feels good to be home.

That’s good. So you miss the entry?

Yes! I was just having a friend date with Michaela [Levine ’16], my roommate from last year. I miss everyone so much! I’m in West now which is cool, but it’s different.

Wait, what? You live in West College? What is it like living in quiet housing?

It’s so weird! I originally was going to live in Tyler [House], and I was freaking out about it because I’m a tour guide and I basically live in the ’62 Center. I’m all over the place, and I was just really stressed about living so far away. So this summer I heard about the mini-lottery, and I entered that and ended up in a double in West. But I guess before I lived there I had this preconceived notion that West was for kids who liked to live alone and who didn’t like to socialize, but it’s really not like that at all. Plus, it’s beautiful inside, and there’s a wonderful common room space with a TV. And really it’s only quiet between 10 p.m. and the morning, so it’s not really a huge deal. And I’m not really a huge partier so it works out.

So, what were your highs and lows of last year?

Oh man, there were so many wonderful things about freshman year. That’s such a hard question. I guess theater was absolutely the best part of my year, especially being able to be in so many shows and specifically being a part of Cap and Bells. I just ended up meeting so many people. Just being a part of that community is so important to me because I’m not an athlete, and I’m not really heavily involved in any clubs or a cappella groups, so Cap and Bells really became my team. Looking back, that was one of the defining things about last year.

Any lows?

I know there are some. Oh god, do you remember in snacks when we all had to tell a story? That was actually one of my lows. I remember refusing to tell one until the very last minute. Oh! I told the story of how that man followed me in Spain…

That was because I made you tell that story! [Laughs.]

It was honestly a low for me. It’s so different for me … I am so not good at off-the-cuff stuff, and so coming up with a story and having everyone listen is difficult. I felt so self-conscious doing it!

Come on, you had a really amazing story. 

Yeah, about being stalked as I was walking home in Spain … Sure…

I’m sorry I prompted that low. [Laughs.] Any other embarrassing stories you want to share? 

I have had so many embarrassing experiences. Do you remember our first entry meeting last year? I told this story. So I was onstage in a show, and my headmistress was in the audience in the front, center row and I had to do this whole spiel and walk downstage, and I literally walked off the stage. I fell right in front of her. Oh my God. It was one of those moments when I was looking into her eyes and oh gosh, people were scrambling and you know when time slows down when embarrassing things are happening? It was awful, and I just remember that moment lasting for eternity. I did that thing where you just get up and brush yourself off and you’re like, “I’m totally fine, everything is okay,” and I got back up onstage and did the rest of my speech.

Moving on, what are you involved in right now in terms of theater?

I was here for this summer for the Theater Lab. We are remounting our play next week, which is really cool. The play is called Courtesy for Beginners and Jim Shepard, [professor of English], actually wrote it … We’re also doing a piece called A Brief History of America, and it’s so beautiful and amazing. It’s by this playwright Dipika Guha who came to the lab and worked with us for a week. I’m also involved in my first department production, Fefu and her Friends. It’s a site-specific piece and we’re doing it outdoors to capture the natural light that kind of works with the show. We get to wear cool ’20s dresses. I’m stoked.

What has been your favorite theater experience thus far and what did you play?

I think about this one memory: I did a lot of community children’s theater when I was younger, and I had never had a lead role until I was like six or seven. So I had been doing it for a few years, and I finally ended up getting a lead role: Hansel in Hansel and Gretel. Picture me as a seven-year-old girl playing Hansel, it was epic. Probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. So whatever, I don’t even remember actually doing it, but I remember just how excited was to get that role. Oh, my god. Weird, I can’t believe I’ve played so many men. I’ve done that quite a bit at Williams too.

So I have to ask, I recently found out (via Facebook) that you’re in a relationship with Frank Pagliaro ’14. What’s it like being a theater power couple?

[Laughs.] Meghana, this is so funny… It’s awesome. He’s so funny and so likeable, and I’m very smitten with him. He and I do a lot of theater. It’s cool because we both do a lot of theater, but we don’t do it together so we can support each other. So, he’s in Combo Za which is great. I hate improv – uhhh, I mean I like to watch it but not perform it. And he comes to my shows, and it’s great. It’s weird, Williams is already a small community, and the theater community is even smaller so it was kind of a “thing” when it happened. He’s very sweet, and I’m very happy to be with him.

Are we going to see a collaboration anytime soon?

Oh! Come to the remount, he’s in the remount! I’m playing this character called “Mom” and he’s this character called “BJ” who is this summer camper and he’s kind of vulgar, sort of like Frank in real life, just like very open and he talks about his boners a lot.

In real life or in the play?

[Laughs.] In the play. And in real life. I mean, that’s what is so lovable about him. He’s so crass. So his character is really funny and has a lot of great one-liners. I’m also doing costumes for his play; he wrote a play called Of One Allegiance Only, which is so beautiful, and Cap and Bells is doing it this fall. I’m doing costumes for that. So I guess that we are collaborating quite a bit.