"Why don't you audition for the Nutcracker with me?"
And so it began. I was eight years old.
Within days--or possibly hours--I was hooked on this bright, dusty world like a college student on vanilla lattes. In junior high I began to be known as "that theatre kid." All through high school, I worked to outrun the terrible sadness that settled over me when I went too many months without theatre involvement.
I chose the career path of a writer, but when, at 16, I played the role I'd dreamed about since fourth grade, I knew I couldn't give it up after graduation. It's hard to change the heart of a theatre kid.
And so here I am, in the midst of yet another production, embracing the "that theatre kid" title until the end of time. So much I thought I knew about my art has changed since I came to college. I've found things in myself I didn't know existed, and reached for crazy heights I never thought myself capable of.
Maybe that's what theatre is.
I wrote this poem from the wings while my friends swirled on stage in the spotlight. It's taken me a long time to realize it, but the theatre world isn't made up only of actors and directors. There are painters, carpenters, stage managers, and sound technicians whose work is every bit the art a performer's is, just in a different way.
I have given my heart to tiny, cold spaces,
To hot yellow lights,
To endless black clothing and paint-stained jeans,
And every hour spent adjusting angles and marking "just the right spot."
I've given my heart to timeless masterpieces,
To hours spent in practice,
To endings and curtain calls,
To a living fantasy,
Repeated costume fittings,
And empty stages.
I am a creature of line notes and makeup checks.
I have loved the theatre too much to ever fear the stage.
There's something beautiful about working in a place where people of all different interests come together to create a masterpiece. It's a family. My family.
And no matter where in the world I go or what I do, I don't think I could stop being "that theatre kid" if I tried.