Features

Humans of Saint Francis: Aashka Trivedi

by Anika Jain (’22) | February 14, 2022

Photo by Ava Hennen (‘22)

Since she was three years old, Aashka Trivedi (’24) has loved to perform. Despite being an underclassman, Trivedi’s passion for theater has led her to audition for this year’s student-run musical, 9 to 5

“This was my first in-person musical at Saint Francis, so it’s such a blessing,” Trivedi shared. “Whenever I audition for [productions], it’s hard to identify myself with a character because there are no roles for women of color specifically. We’ve done Beauty and the Beast in the past, and I felt like I didn’t really identify with the character. But the director gave me the opportunity to do this, so it’s a very big blessing.”

Along with the rest of the cast and crew, Trivedi rehearsed for two months leading up to opening night, for five hours a day. “I learned a lot about how to manage time because there were lines to learn, dances to memorize, and many different parts of the musical to learn simultaneously,” she continued. “I learned more about people skills because we were constantly throwing out ideas and working off each other.”

As Violet Newstead, Trivedi also had to step out of her comfort zone by dancing in heels and performing with a mask on due to COVID-19 precautions. “The masks were definitely cumbersome, especially because I wore a wig as well. The mic would often get tangled with the straps of the mask, and the hair would be everywhere. The biggest problem I faced is so funny,” she said — she worried that acne would start breaking out over her nose due to sweat from her mask. 

In preparation for her role, Trivedi also watched “bootleg musical versions on YouTube” to nail her character’s iconic “1970s posh city accent.” 

Her character is a confident, hardworking widow raising a teenage daughter while working a full time job with an unbearably misogynistic boss. Trivedi said that “the general frustration where you work so hard and realize it’s not enough” was relatable. “I mean, I haven’t been in the workforce yet. But I know my mom sometimes feels that way,” she added. 

There were other aspects of Violet that were less relatable for her: “I don’t exactly exude that kind of confidence, and I was pretty afraid of actually not being able to portray that. But surprisingly enough, when you get into five inch heels and put the wig on, you stand up straighter.”

Trivedi also reflected on her favorite memories from rehearsals, when she would make eye contact with fellow cast members across the stage in the wings. “Everyone was always excited and hyping [each other] up,” she said. “It was very supportive. No one gets laughed at; everyone laughs with you, which I think is very important, especially for performing arts.”

Performing in front of a live audience was a new experience for Trivedi, since she had only previously acted in virtual productions last year. “When real people are watching in the audience, they’re actively responding to the lines you say. It’s more of a back-and-forth, and that’s so precious. I love it so much,” she continued. Ultimately, Trivedi looks forward to future Saint Francis musicals.

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