How I Found My Home In Theatre
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How I Found My Home In Theatre

My journey with theatre through the years.

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How I Found My Home In Theatre
Depaul

When I was younger, I was a quiet child. Like, quiet to the point where people were concerned about how little I spoke. I remember once in the sixth grade, I read a passage from a short story out loud and when I was done reading, my teacher exclaimed, “She has a voice!” Yep, that quiet. I was never good at expressing myself or opening up to people. My family moved around a lot when I was younger, so as soon as I got to know people and make friends with them, we were uprooted after two years. We moved back to New Jersey when I was nine-years-old and I had no desire to make new friends. I thought that I wouldn’t find anyone better than the friends I had in Connecticut. I made my reputation as the quietest girl in school. However, all of that began to slowly change when I auditioned for the school musical.

In the sixth grade, my elementary school put on “Beauty and the Beast.” My entire class — all 40 of us — auditioned and I figured that since I liked to sing, I would audition as well. There was a policy in my grade school that everyone who auditioned had to get a part, so I was cast as Miss Lemon, the — made-up — sister of Mrs. Potts, alongside her other imaginary sister, Madame Sugar. I was on top of the world. I got to split a third of Mrs. Potts’s lines with the other two girls and I got to sing part of the “Beauty and the Beast” song, arguably the most iconic number from the entire show. The rehearsal process was fascinating and fun to me, and I enjoyed pretending to be someone I wasn’t. I was allowed to be loud, crazy and energetic. I surprised my entire class with my singing voice. I never experienced a rush more spine-tingling or fulfilling as getting up in front of a crowd and singing while dressed as a giant taffeta lemon. I have chased that high ever since.

In the seventh grade, I moved to the big and daunting public elementary school with about 20 of my private grade school classmates. The first day of school was overwhelming; the four local elementary schools were combined into one building and my class size suddenly grew from 40 to 200. I quickly gravitated to the theatre where I had become comfortable. The other theatre kids established themselves quickly and we became fast friends. I can’t say much about the shows that I did during middle school because I barely recall what shows we even did — they were low-budget and messy, but we thought that they were the greatest contribution to American theatre that the world had ever seen. I met my best friend of eight years doing crazy middle school theatre. When she met me then, she had to fight to get me to speak. Now she has to fight to shut me up. Our friendship blossomed over the two years of middle school and we moved eagerly to high school.

I wish that there was one word that could encompass my entire theatre experience in high school, but I would have to write a few books to describe all that MHS Theatre means to me. Even though our auditorium was built backwards so sound did not carry well, the place was a downright Broadway auditorium compared to the junior high school. A huge stage! A light board! A sound system! Sets! A prop closet! An orchestra pit! Two shows a year! I couldn’t wait to get started.

I did crew in the fall and acted in the spring. It was the best of both worlds. I made friends on cast and crew, and created my own little family within my high school. I became more confident in class and in the work that I was doing. I became a little less self-conscious. I learned to love my own laugh. I will always have those memories with me: the asylum scene from “Sweeney Todd,” the crazy dress that I had to wear for “The Wizard of Oz” and falling asleep backstage, the gold jumpsuit and having dance parties backstage during “Bye Bye Birdie,” having to jump in at the last minute and act during “Midsummer Jersey.” All of these experiences have made me the person that I am today and I am infinitely happier because of it all.

When I got to Fairfield, I suddenly dropped theatre. I was lost and away from home and all I wanted to do was lay in bed. I made friends and I have kept those friends, but there was something missing. There was nothing uniting us. During sophomore year, I took a scene painting class in which we were painting a set for a Theatre Fairfield show. I met a few people involved in the production and I felt that familiar feeling of warmth and friendship that I had come to associate with theatre people. All too quickly, the show and the class ended and I was left, once again, swimming in a sea of uncertainty about my life at college.

Sophomore year felt like a Fourth of July sparkler by the time that May rolled around: it burned brightly and was explosive at the beginning, but sputtered out just as quickly. I was sad and stressed about friendships, as well as schoolwork, and I could not wait until I could move out. I started to retreat a bit back into myself. Through the dark clouds that were hanging over my head, a ray of light shone through: I was going to move in with a girl that I met while I worked on the show in the fall semester, Kelly, and a few other new people. She had posted on Facebook about needing another roommate and I responded immediately and we all finalized our living situation within the week. I left at the end of the year with a nervous, but positive outlook on September.

Kelly was the one who got me back into theatre. At the end of October, she innocently put out a question in our group chat asking if anyone could help out with auditions for a show. I said that I would give a hand with checking people in and keeping the noise down while auditions were going on. When I got there, the memories of auditioning hit me with full force. The nervous, but excited feeling of getting up in front of a group of people and giving it your all in the hopes that you would get your dream role. Looking around the room, I realized what was missing in my life: these people. Before I left, I filled out a crew sheet and I got a call the next weekend asking me to be assistant stage manager.

The next month of my life was a whirlwind. We started rehearsal at the beginning of November and the show went up the first weekend of December. Over the course of those four weeks, I got to meet some of the most, kind, creative, exciting and all-around fun people that I have ever met. Everyone was so welcoming and genuinely excited to have me, as well as the other new people aboard. I have found that the theatre is such a loving and open environment that it is hard to leave after you have experienced it. Theatre Fairfield is no different. I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Kelly for bringing me into the TF world. She is one of my best friends and my wife for life and now we have a stronger relationship because of theatre.

Different forms of art have all touched my life in some way or another and shaped my life. Music, literature and photography have all made their way into my life, but I always find my way back to theatre. I love telling stories and I believe that there is no better way to do that than on a stage. There is so much room for interpretation and fun. I believe that my relationship with theatre will not be over as long as there is still a story to be told.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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