I haven’t really written about my involvement in the arts at my school before, so here goes. From the time I was little, I’ve loved acting and theatre. The costumes, the sets, the bright lights and the audience; It’s such a unique place. I always tried to recreate the feeling at home, running what my parents called “the neverending plays”, which were written and performed entirely by yours truly. And though they were likely extremely painful for my parents, they filled me with joy.
The first time I was in a real production was probably my 3rd grade Christmas play. I loved it. I kept a foot in the drama world for the remainder of my elementary and middle school life; camps and school productions, dramas and comedies, musicals-you name it, I’d do it. Anything that kept me on the stage. But then the crippling anxiety and workload of high school hit, and I couldn’t do the lines and the blocking and the late rehearsals anymore. So I joined the crew. Here’s the thing: when you’re younger, you don’t get the experience of working with theatre kids, because you’re micromanaged by whichever overextended English or music teacher is running the thing. The savage roasts, the cross-dressed 16-year-old boys, the dramatics, the salt. I love it.
For the last two years, I’ve worked backstage on costumes. One of the really nice things about costumes is the laid back nature. We spend so much time and energy on our job before the opening night, that we, unlike the running crew, get to breathe during the production. Yes, we have buttons to sew, and dresses to safety pin back together, and the majority of what we’ve created is kept together by pure unadulterated desperation and hot glue, but it just has a calm, mechanical atmosphere. Sew, zip, pin. It has a rhythm.
There’s something so unique about theatre kids. I think it’s based on the whole we’re-all-outcasts stereotype. Or maybe the shared love for musical soundtracks. Or perhaps our tolerance to the smell of hairspray. Whatever it is, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. The community is one of the tightest knit, with freshmen and seniors shit talking that one obnoxious chick as equals, and it’s amazing. Everything else just ceases to exist, and for one brief moment, nothing exists but the stage, the lights, the costumes and the lines. United in the creation of the production, we become a many-headed monster. It’s like being on a team, but you always make it to the finals, you always have a ‘big moment’, you always have something to present, filled with pride.
I hope to have a foot in the world of theatre throughout my life, in one aspect or another. Community theatre, making costumes, it really doesn’t matter to me. Walking backstage always feels as though I’m coming home.