Joining a drama club sets the stage for romance

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As freshmen at the University of Alabama, Allison Lyn Mollenkamp and William James McCrary were part of a group of seven students who staged a production of “Foreplay Or: The Art of the Fugue,” a short play from the anthology “All in the Timing,” written by David Ives.

A few weeks ago, Ms Mollenkamp and Mr McCrary, both 26, became the second couple in this group of seven to wed. (A third is engaged.)

Their walk down the aisle came nearly eight years after they met at an on-campus drama club, in September 2014. Ms. Mollenkamp, ​​a native of Jefferson City, Mo., said she was a “theater child” for most of her life. , but Mr. McCrary, who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, had only recently become interested in the art form. “I Googled ‘cool clubs at the University of Alabama,’ or something like that,” he said before deciding to join.

That fall, when the club asked for volunteers to direct short plays, Mollenkamp jumped at the chance. Although inexperienced, Mr. McCrary did it too, partly to get to know her better. “I talked to him a bit,” he said. “I thought she was cute.”

In “Foreplay”, the two were cast as actors. By talking during rehearsals, they discover common links. Both are trumpeters, as well as the eldest of their respective families; she has two siblings, he has one. Their first official date, initiated by Ms. Mollenkamp, ​​was in February 2015, at a Starbucks on campus. During their meeting, they learned another common trait: neither of them drinks coffee. (Both had hot chocolate.)

They soon began having regular lunch dates and, in March, had a first kiss. It followed a theater rehearsal – and a failed kissing attempt earlier in the day as they walked along the Black Warrior River, which sits between the towns of Northport and Tuscaloosa. As they sat on a bench overlooking the river, Ms Mollenkamp recalled thinking, “OK, we’re probably going to have a first kiss here, aren’t we?” But the moment was ruined by two unicyclists pedaling nearby. “It didn’t really feel very private or romantic to me,” she said.

When both graduated in May 2018 – he with a BA in history and anthropology, and she with a BA in English – Mr McCrary took up a year-long role with AmeriCorps in Birmingham, while Ms Mollenkamp moved on in Lincoln, Neb., to work at a public radio station broadcast by what is now known as Nebraska Public Media.

Determined to make it work over long distances, Ms Mollenkamp said she had started using “all the money from my newly acquired salaried work on plane tickets”.

That Christmas she gave Mr McCrary a toothbrush, which she described as a more ‘symbolic’ gift. The gesture meant that “you will always have a toothbrush in my place, you can always be there,” she said.

The following year, after Mr. McCrary completed his stint at AmeriCorps, he moved to Lincoln, in July 2019. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, he further closed the distance between them by staying for a while in Mrs. Mollenkamp’s apartment. “That’s when it became when we get married, not if we get married,” she said.

They got engaged in June, following another exchange of gifts: for Ms. Mollenkamp’s birthday, Mr. McCrary gave her an engagement ring. The ring, which has a green tourmaline stone, was purchased on Etsy and chosen to match the wedding band she had inherited from her great-grandmother.

In August 2020, they moved to College Park, Maryland with the intention of both attending graduate school at the University of Maryland. Mr. McCrary, who started a master’s degree in history and library science, now works as a manager at the university’s bookstore. Ms. Mollenkamp, ​​who holds a master’s degree in journalism from the university, is a member of NPR’s investigative team in Washington, where the couple moved in June.

On July 23, they married in front of 29 guests in the backyard of Ms. Mollenkamp’s parents’ home in Jefferson City. Elisabeth Blotevogel, a friend of the couple who was ordained Minister of Universal Life for the occasion, officiated at the ceremony, which included musical performances from the bride’s younger brothers and her sister-in-law.

“I loved singing with my brothers growing up,” Ms. Mollenkamp said. “They’ve been making music together for a long time.”

A song performed by the trio, “If We Were Vampires” by Jason Isbell, “makes me think of driving in the car at night” with the groom, the bride said. “He’s the one who made me cry.”

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