Monday, May 23, 2011

Beginnings, Beginnings

I have been involved in theatre for a long time. My "career" started in 6th grade when we were all required to participate in our class's production of The Taming of the Shrew. I really wanted to be Katherine, and I was sure I had the role. Then. My friend Ashely asked me to read for the part of the widow because she didn't want to audition alone. I did, and to my horror I read better for the widow than I had for Katherine. The cast list went up after recess. I. was. the widow. And I was SO mad! I scribbled a note to my teacher that sounded something like this:
"I hate your stupid show and I refuse to participate! ... Unless you let me be Katherine! I really deserve the role of Katherine! I hate acting! I hate Shakespeare! Unless I'm Katherine, I hate Shakespeare! I won't do it! You can't make me! Signed, Anonymous."
Except it was a whole page long and written in sixth-grader, so there were a lot of spelling errors and there were definitely more exclamation points.

Even though I signed the note anonymously, my teacher knew I had written it. Maybe she recognized my handwriting. Maybe the note just sounded like me. Maybe it was the way I wouldn't stop glaring at her or throwing things at Brandi (Kate). However she figured it out, my teacher approached me and tried to calm me down. She finally told me that Brandi would have to kiss Colton, but I would not be deterred. I knew I was perfect for the part. Mrs. Stevens disagreed and I hated her for the rest of the school year.

I took my script home that night and had the whole thing memorized by the time I walked to school the next day. It was about 20 pages long, but I wanted to prove that I could do it better than Brandi. And if she happened to die at lunch in a freak accident involving a swing or the zip line, I would already have all of her lines memorized so her role would default to me. It was fool proof!

I was not a vengeful 11-year-old; I never even thought to try to kill her to move things along. The next few weeks didn't play out quite the way I imagined them. Brandi didn't get sick or break her ankle or get kicked in the head by a horse. She didn't even actually have to kiss Colton, so she couldn't die of the cooties. To my exasperation, the day of the performance came and I had to play the part of the widow. My mom did my hair in a french braid. I wore a black dress and one of my mom's huge, beshoulderpadded coats. We did the show once for the school, then once more for parents and older siblings. I remembered my one line (I still remember it: "He that is giddy thinks the world turns round."), I did the bit with the servants, and I moved a wall and a couple of chairs.

That was it. That was my first experience with theatre. It wasn't a particularly good one, from my point of view. I don't know how that one thing led me to take a drama class in 8th grade, how I managed to overcome my crippling stage fright to audition for Joseph... in 9th grade, and how I ended up as a theatre major at UVU. I don't know how it happened, but it did and I've spent the last six years of my life deeply immersed in this world. I have had so many wonderful experiences. I've had a few bad experiences. I've had a couple of really difficult experiences. But everything that I have experienced is of equal value- I gladly take the good, the bad, and the nast-acular because it all works together to make me a better actress, and more importantly, a stronger person.

I'm a little sad to be leaving it behind.

That's not entirely accurate. I -- oh, by the way. I guess this is the official announcement. I'm changing my major. I will now be studying creative writing -- am very excited to begin again, to start over, to take who I have become and to introduce her to a brand new and well loved aspect of life. I have resolved to take my studies seriously so that I can get in to a good graduate program, and I'm taking this opportunity to do the college thing right. Maybe that will mean taking an intermission, if you will, a short break from theatre friends and from the theatre lifestyle. Maybe I'll figure out a way to make time for some shows (don't worry, I'm not dropping out of The Princess and the Goblin. A girl has got to earn her living. Also, it sounds like fun).

I guess we'll just have to see.

I will be minoring in theatre, so if I do take a break it will be quite temporary. I don't want these 5 years of work to just disappear- I want a degree, dangit! But look on the bright side, this way it won't matter that I keep forgetting about Company Call! ;)

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