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“Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that.” – Nicholas Sparks
I remember seeing one of my very first theatrical performances. I was in grade school and had managed to talk my mom into taking me to the high school on a Friday night in November when my dad went out hunting with the men in the family to see the fall musical. I mean, it was Cinderella, how could we NOT see that show? Back then, when I hadn’t yet experienced working in theatre, I thought it was an easy thing to do. Slap some scenes together and put clothes on people and recite lines. Little did I know, that was not the case at all.
That had to have been eight years ago, considering it was the summer after that show I started taking summer classes at the recreation center and got my first taste of theatre. Seven years later, with a deep love and passion for the art, I’m now teaching those classes. And let me tell you, it is not just about slapping some scenes together and putting clothes on people to recite lines; far from it.
The thing that I love about the art of theatre is the challenge it presents to everyone involved with it. I can say that this is true in all perspectives, not just from acting. Having worked several shows on the technical side behind the curtains it takes just as much patience and hard work to make a wonderful show when the curtain opens.
If you were to have met me seven years ago before I started theatre you would have met a shy, quiet and timid girl who preferred to read instead of socializing with other kids my age. If you had met me four years ago, as a freshmen in high school you would have met a girl who was still shy and timid but not as quiet. Now, because of all these years in theatre, I’ve been able to overcome being shy and timid (or at least for the most part) and am willing to put myself out there more when meeting new people and can sometimes be called crazy.
Freshmen year was a fond year; it was the first year that I actually got to participate in a full production. One where we did auditions, call backs, dance and music rehearsals and full runs, it was nothing compared to my summer classes. It was a crazy time though, between learning how the audition process worked and keeping up with everything under the sun and moon while still trying to be sane.
Sophomore year was a good year; I really got my footing in the theatre department at my high school where actors and techies alike were considered family. This was also the year that I faced my fears of heights and danced on top of the grand set structure for Beauty and the Beast during Be Our Guest. Not to mention this was the year that I realized maybe acting wasn’t the thing for me.
Junior year was a battle the entire way. Between health problems that were restricting daily activities and being in charge of costumes and make up for a cast of at least fifty for Fiddler on the Roof , a period show nonetheless, it was the most challenging year I faced. Although in the end, I had shed many tears of frustration, some blood from sewing many prayer shawls in one night, and found that I hated clown white with a passion; I look back on junior year as my biggest learning curve in high school. It taught me that through anything, I can do anything I set my mind to.
I took my spring semester off of junior year to have my hip replaced, meaning that I couldn’t work on the spring show or the mystery dinner theatre. However, just because I had taken a long break from theatre didn’t mean that I would pass up senior year.
Instead of doing tech like I had originally planned, I surprised everyone by auditioning for Guys and Dolls in September. I wasn’t surprised that I got cast as an extra in the chorus and ended up playing a man for the majority of the show, but it was good to be back on stage after all that time. This show was one of my favorites because of the challenges it put me through. I had a new hip that I could finally dance with but I still suffered through a lot of pain.
People have asked me why I keep going back, show after show, after show. Although it does require a lot of time from my schedule, I couldn’t imagine not doing theatre in some form. The components it takes to make this form of art what it is for the audience to see is extremely rewarding. Sure I’ve put my body through a lot of pain from dancing the same dance sequence too many times, or sang my voice ragged from singing all the time in preparation for a show night, or not eating as healthy as healthy as I should because there’s no time to eat between school, rehearsal and homework, or from the lack of sleep from the endless hours of work during the week on that one scene. I wouldn’t do it any other way had I been given the opportunity.
There’s something about being on stage acting as if I’m someone I’ve never met before, or sitting back stage pulling the ropes for the curtain, and even sitting in the front row watching your friends swing swords around three nights in a row as they try to not get caught by the Cardinal’s guards; it makes me happy, happy to see the camaraderie and dedication that everyone has for the same goal.