On Tuesday, I went to my first speech tournament with my university’s speech team. Because I just joined, all that was required of me was to observe, learn tips, and not lose my way. This new experience was both exciting and draining. December 3 is the day when I will begin to compete myself. I find myself thinking ahead to that day often with nervousness and anticipation.
However, something even more exciting happened on Tuesday evening. Normally the speech meet lasts until 9 or 10 p.m. To return home a bit sooner, I left early with some teammates who were auditioning for the Christmas show at our school. Biting my lip in the car and squirming in my seat, I wondered if I should tryout as well. After all, theater used to be my only social outlet and a place of acceptance. After being offstage for nearly three years, was I ready to return to the spotlight?
Last minute, I decided to audition. The third last of over 70 people, my wait was long. Pacing the floor, scanning my text books, and muttering to myself about how frustrated my mother would be took up all of my time. Finally, at nearly 11 p.m., I performed along with my group of six people. Afterward, the voices in my head criticized every move that I made. There was no way I would be cast. After all, only half of the people auditioning would be put in a show and around 2/3 of the characters were male. Perhaps I should not have even tried to be a part of the show.
Yesterday morning, I took my time running little errands around campus before going to look at the cast list. To my surprise, my name was right at the top of one of the papers. I would be in a show once again! All day long, a smile crept onto my lips as I swallowed the squeals of joy inside of me. My first time auditioning for a college show resulted in a part.
Today, that same joy still is bubbling inside of me. Thus, it seemed fitting to have a Thankfulness Thursday dedicated to the wonderfulness of theater. Here are some of my favorite memories as well as universally loved traits of the theatrical world.
262. Acceptance – Theater people tend to accept you no matter who you are. Despite my oddities, fellow thespians affirmed me instead of teased me growing up.
263. Escaping from your daily life – After struggling with depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and other such problems, I loved to fly away to a different world by being a different character. Becoming someone other than yourself can be a nice break for the worries of everyday life.
264. Bonding with unique people – You meet so many different types of people in theater. This opens your eyes to others outside of your normal circle of acquaintances.
265. Singing “A Dream is a Wish” – Being Cinderella is one of my favorite memories ever. This moment when I sung this song, I felt beautiful and like a true princess.
266. Applause – Honestly, this is one of the most gratifying noises ever. I can see why people do outlandish things to try to get it.
267. Standing ovations – Even better than applause, these are what every performer longs for after a show. They are not too common but totally worth the hard work.
268. Becoming a strong team – If you are not a team with your fellow actors, the show will struggle. Being united and working together is a vital part of being in theater.
269. Receiving the understudy by surprise – In one show, years ago, I stood in for a missing actress during a rehearsal. To the director’s shock, I had her part memorized. Right afterward, he gave me a big hug and announced that I was the understudy. Although I never had the chance to play her part, the honor meant so much to me.
270. Practicing to learn something difficult and new – No one can do theater perfectly on the first try. You need to work hard repetitively to become good. Dancing, being in character, singing, and memorizing lines all take time.
271. Mentally stimulating – Every moment that you are onstage, you have to be thinking like your character. Let down your guard and be sloppy for a moment – you fall out of character. Theater takes deep thinking and concentration.
272. Creating your character – Especially if you are in the ensemble, you get to make your character individual. Each person plays a part differently. Choosing how you will do your character is fun, thought-provoking, and exciting.
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