I am a theatre kid. Stage makeup runs through my veins. Actually it doesn’t. That was a figure of speech. If it actually ran through my veins, I would be some sort of theatre zombie.
You guys, I think I just made Hollywood’s next big-budget horror film…Hamlet the Zombie. And it’s a horror movie solely for the fact that based off of films like “Jack the Giant Slayer” and “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” this film is definitely a possibility.
But on to other, more important matters. As I said before I was so distracted, I am a theatre kid. I’ve averaged having a prominent role in two or three shows a year since tenth grade. It’s been going on for four years now, and I honestly can’t remember a time where I’m not at rehearsal, thinking of rehearsal, performing a show, or thinking of performing a show. And especially at the closing of my most recent musical up here, Legally Blonde, where I played this fun guy,
I’ve just been in a very theatre-y mood.
So how did this crazy run-in with the glitz and glamor of Broadway happen? Well, it’s a HARE-RAISING ORDEAL.
Hah. Title drops. I freaking love these. As much as I love puns.
COUGH COUGH FORESHADOWING COUGH COUGH
See, back in Junior High, I thought that I had to be “cool.” But, conversely, I wanted to audition for a school play. I decided that it was uncool and didn’t ever audition for anything. I told my friends who actually sucked it up and gave it a try that I just missed the audition or signup for tech work and left it at that.
That was until about the end of ninth grade, when I went to see my high school’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar. I was completely blown away, and to this day, I still have a soft spot for that show. I thought to myself, “wow, cool people do theatre stuff? THESE GUYS ARE LIKE SOOOOOO COOL OH MY GOD”
So that fall, when I finally realized that being cool and popular was overrated (which actually, ironically helped me become relatively popular near the end of my high school years because logic doesn’t apply to high school), I decided that I would try out for a play once before I graduated.
That fall, the school did Shakespeare, so I decided to wait until their next play, like I had told myself after Jesus Christ Superstar, and pretty much after every single play I had seen beforehand. So essentially, I chickened out.
Until I went to see the show. We did A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is now my favorite comedy of Shakespeare. This is a pretty accurate representation of how I looked throughout the entire show:
That’s when I sat myself down and said:
Oh my God, I just referenced my precalc teacher. I am so ashamed…
Anyway, about a week or so after the Cross Country season ended, I heard the announcement that our second play of the year, Alice in Wonderland, would be having auditions after school the following Wednesday, and that anyone who wanted to be in would be in (it was a play to introduce newbies to theatre). I finally jumped at the chance.
On Wednesday, I walked into the dark theatre to an incredibly loud buzzing. There were people everywhere, and I didn’t know a single soul. I slowly weaved through the crowd of people, my introvert showing heavily. After five minutes of unsuccessfully finding someone I knew to talk to, we were called upstage for the
We all got in a big circle and were told to introduce ourselves with our name, grade, and an interesting fact about myself.
It amazes me how comfortable I am in front of new people sometimes. After that, the entire theatre was quickly alive with strange movements and shouting. We sang about penguins drinking tea, and said words like “toy boat” and “irish wristwatch” as quickly as we could. It was when I came to this conclusion, which has still yet to be proven otherwise:
These were what we called our warm-ups. We would be doing this before every single rehearsal for God knows what reason. A couple older students then handed out sheets for us to fill out for the directors. I quickly wrote down that I did not want a big role, because I soon thought I would regret the decision to join this play in its entirety. By then, I found my friend Kevin, and we decided to do our audition piece together. He told me that he was going for the role of “Mad Hatter” or “March Hare,” and that I should too. I reluctantly agreed, but I didn’t want to anger him if I went for the same role, so I wrote down “Cheshire Cat.”
Soon after, we got a script that the two of us would be reading off in front of the directors. It was a dialogue between Alice and the Cheshire Cat! I was so excited that I almost peed. Maybe I did pee. I’m not sure. I just know that I was excited.
Sam, the older student that was helping with auditions, took a look at my sheet and said that I should take off the request for a smaller role, because the Cheshire Cat was a much larger role than a lot of the others. He was Theseus in the previous show, so I was too starstruck to think otherwise. I immediately erased the request and Kevin and I began to practice our piece.
I remember it being surprisingly easy for me to read through the lines in a funny way. We were all in a makeshift line and we could hear other people reading lines, so we could hear other people working on their scene. And, oddly enough, I sounded…better than them. Maybe I was just next to the people who were doomed to smaller roles their entire life, but it boosted my confidence, and by the time Kevin and I walked in to present our audition piece, my heart was only beating twelve times faster than it should have been.
I don’t remember much of that audition, just that the adrenaline flowing through my body was making me jump around a lot more than I usually did, and that our directors laughed at us, then made us switch roles. I read as Alice, and Kevin read as the cat. It was about then that I realized that maybe theatre wasn’t all that scary.
Until that night. As I laid my head down, I suddenly remembered that I had previously erased the request to only have a small amount of lines in the show! I would get a big part, and then get so much stage fright, I would ruin the entire play! What was I THINKING?
Then I reminded myself that directors tend to play favorites and that I hadn’t kissed up to the directors enough to get a large enough role. I’d probably have two lines, tops.
I got the fourth biggest role in the show.
My reaction was pretty typical of every other decent role I’ve ever gotten.
I excitedly called my mother and father, eager to share the news. I ran to rehearsal that day and nearly every day after that out of pure eagerness to act in the show. And honestly, I was getting pretty good. Sure, I’d make rookie mistakes here and there, but overall, I felt that I was one of the best actors in the show.
Coincidentally, my ego really started to bloom here.
Soon enough, the day came to perform, and as I woke up that morning, I was more than ready for the performance.
FALSE that is completely FALSE
…I don’t fit under the bed. I hid in my closet.
But in all seriousness, I thought that my heart was going to jump out of my throat and do the whole play for me, which would have been wonderful, as this is not Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and I would not be able to scream and still be alive minus my heart. I was terrified that I would go out there and flub my lines, causing everyone to hate me. All throughout the time I was putting on makeup, getting into costume, and finally waiting behind the curtain for my big Broadway (not really) debut. My heart was fighting against every part of my chest, pounding its way around every cavity under my ribs. It was all I could do to keep a steady breath going. I looked over at the guy playing my counterpart, the Mad Hatter. His face was stern with concentration. I tried to match his with mine, but I probably looked constipated. Finally, I heard my cue line and jumped out from behind the curtain.
Suddenly, everything was calm. I don’t know if the adrenaline took over, or if I just realized that I had everything I needed right then and there, but everything suddenly got a lot easier. I did my part, I laughed, I fell, I said funny things, and I had a good time.
As soon as I was offstage, my whole body was tingling. There was this energy that I had never felt before, just floating in my veins! I practically felt high. It was good. I felt good. I felt powerful. Where did all this energy come from? It was like I had awakened a beast…THE BEAST OF THE THEATRE.
After the show, my parents drove me home. They didn’t like the play, but they liked me in the play. Apparently I was one of four or five people who had any energy on stage. The energy that was just now starting to wear out. That seemed to be the general consensus with everyone at school.
To make matters even better, I got to get to know the cast, and they all encouraged me to try out for more shows. By the end of the year, I was a bona fide theatre kid, being loud, obnoxious, melodramatic, over-the-top, and just plain old ridiculous.
From then on, I’ve had a strong passion for acting that up until now I haven’t really shared that much with you guys here at Growls by Sprouls. I’ve been doing plays and the like constantly for almost a solid four years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the stage, the actors, the techies, the pit orchestra, the directors, the roles, the stage managers (except Andy. Shut up, Andy.), the cast parties, the conferences, and even striking the set after the show.
Okay, I hate striking the set. That’s bullshit. But everything else? Love it. In short, I love the theatre.
Whether I’m a rabbit,
the leader of the lollipop guild,
a dentist who really likes children’s blocks,
that awkward boyfriend,
an angry brother,
a ruthless prince,
a figment of someone’s imagination,
or even some dopey old man with a bombshell daughter, I love the theatre. And I don’t plan on giving up that love any time soon.