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Getting To Know …

Sommer Long

Sommer Long of Ashburn was selected to be the stage manager for the University of Mary Washington’s production of "Dancing at Lughnasa." She is a graduate of Stone Bridge High School.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in California and lived there in Simi Valley for seven years. Then I moved to Ashburn and I have lived there with my family ever since except for when I go to school in Fredericksburg.

Tell us about your family.

My family includes my mother and father, Lynn and Mark Long; my brother, Doug; my sisters, Cindy and Allison; and my dog, Nick. I am the oldest of the four children.

Favorite school subject:

My favorite subjects were art and English. I like theater so much, because it combines these two subjects.

What do you want to do when you graduate?

I would love to get a job in the theater. I will probably be working in Washington, D.C.

Awards and achievements:

I am the recipient of the Fred R. Winer, Nina Bushnell and alumni scholarships. I have been selected to be a member of Alpha Psi Omega, an honorary society dedicated to excellence in collegiate theater, and Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society.

What are your hobbies?

I like all kinds of arts and reading. I also like walking and swimming. Recently, I took up knitting.

Favorite place to hang out in the Loudoun community?

I love to go for walks on all the trails we have crisscrossing the community. When I want some quiet time to reflect by myself, I like to go to the little park by the Ashburn library and sit on one of the benches by the lake.

What are some ideas you have on ways to improve the Loudoun community?

Build more roads to deal with the traffic. I would also like to see more emphasis on the arts in our community. I look around and I see very few theaters or art galleries. I think this is important. It would add to the culture, which would as a result make the community more attractive. It would also expose the younger members of the community to the arts. I can’t believe we don’t have artists in Loudoun, but I don’t see an outlet for them.

What is the last book you read, favorite television show and last movie you saw?

During the school year, I don’t have much time to read for pleasure. However, I recently read Robert Edmund Jones’s "Dramatic Imagination" for a class. It was so inspiring and it made me proud to do theater. I loved the emphasis on the imagination. Jones writes that, "It is the most precious, the most powerful, and the most unused of all human faculties … And it is the very essence of the theatre." I don’t like watching TV, so I don’t have a favorite show. The last movie I saw was "Night at the Museum." I went to see it on campus with my roommate, Cari, and we both really liked it. It was funny.

What is your favorite (or least favorite) thing about school?

My favorite thing about school has got to be all the amazing opportunities that abound for college students. There is always something to do on campus and so many groups to get involved with. I am never bored. Of course, the free food and entertainment is an added bonus.

My least favorite thing is that it only lasts four years. But I’m sure when the time comes, I’ll be ready to move on to bigger and better things.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would love to be living on my own and doing the work I love.

What are you looking forward to about vacation from school?

This summer I am volunteering at Our Chalet, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ World Center in Switzerland. I am so excited about it.

Who is a historical figure you would like to meet?

There are so many people I would like to meet. I am fascinated with stories and peoples’ lives. Everyone is just so special and we all have important stories to tell. I would love the chance to meet someone historical and ask them about their life.

Describe how you would most enjoy spending a single day?

I would definitely like to spend it outside with my favorite people in the world just talking and laughing.

If you could be anyone else, who would you be and why?

I don’t like these hypothetical questions. I’m pleased with who I am and I enjoy being myself.

Do you have a favorite quotation?

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

or

"Act well your part, there all the honour lies." —Alexander Pope

How did you get involved with UMW’s "Dancing at Lughnasa?"

I signed up to stage manage for my theater practicum credit. This is a requirement for theater majors, but I also really wanted the experience. "Dancing at Lughnasa" is a beautiful play and I really wanted to be involved.

Have you acted before?

I acted in high school. I was active in the Running Dog Productions of Stone Bridge High School and had roles in some of the one acts there. I have taken two semesters of acting class in college, but I have not had any acting experience in college productions. I prefer stage management.

What do you like about the show?

"Dancing at Lughnasa" is a subtle and touching show. It is a skillfully written memory play. It deals with conflicting religious beliefs and the strength of the human spirit. It is a little sad, but very moving. The music and the dancing are beautiful. I especially love to watch the dancing. As the rehearsal process progressed, I have fallen in love with all the characters and their stories.