I was lucky enough to be part of my school’s Festival of Shorts last quarter. This festival is a collection of short films and plays, and I got to work on a play called Ferris Wheel written by Mary Miller. It took some work getting it all together, and there were moments when I truly did not think we would make it to opening night. Everyone pulled through, though, and it made for two months of improvised tangents, random performances with orange eyeshadow, and stories that will be told later on.
1. I’m actually super type-A.
The day I was supposed to have my first rehearsal, I got a call from my director saying the other actor (in a two person play) had dropped out. This sent me into a whirlwind of a week trying to find another actor, and finally (thanks to some help from my roommate) finding one. Then came getting everyone together for a first rehearsal, wherein when I finally believed I had really been cast and I was actually going to be in a play. Being super type-A has it’s upsides, such as being able to get people together for a rehearsal, but of course it has it’s downsides, such as wanting to control things you have absolutely no control over. And my oh my were there plenty of situations I wanted to control throughout this experience.
2. I really missed being funny and working with funny people.
In my Freshman and Sophomore years of high school, I was in a drama class that consisted of doing skits for chapels and church performances. I was often cast in comedic roles, which I loved. I always wanted to do more serious roles, however, and doing Les Mis my Junior year gave me a small taste of that. When I got to college and had my acting class Fall Quarter, I chose a serious monologue and then had a scene assignment from a play called Eleemosynary, which was as serious as I’ve gotten. Sure, I had a couple comedic scene assignments, but I never felt like I was getting the chance to be funny. I really loved being part of a comedy and making people laugh, as well as working with another funny actor who made me laugh on a daily basis. Getting the chance to be funny and working with people who make me laugh are always going to be some of my favorite parts of theatre, and I’m really thankful I got another taste of it last month.
3. Never underestimate the power of cold medicine.
I got sick over tech week, and there was one day towards the end where I felt ridiculously awful. I wound up falling asleep behind a couch in the greenroom next to a radiator, and felt dizzy throughout taking pictures before and during my rehearsal. The next was going to be the invited dress rehearsal, which meant it was our first night with an audience. I finally took some cold medicine brought to me by a friend, and about an hour later felt 100% better. I had somehow gotten through the previous day’s rehearsal, but the invited dress rehearsal went much better. So yeah, never underestimate the power of cold medication.
4. Always keep your people close by.
Since moving away, I have found that being in a theatre is where I feel safest, happiest, and most at home. But sometimes, there are situations that I end up in that make going to work hard. When that happens, I’ve found that keeping my people close by is the best way to help. During one of the first days of tech week, I was alone in the greenroom with one of my friends and I told her some of the stuff that had been going on and how I really wasn’t sure how to keep going. For the next few days of tech week and during the performances, she and many of my other friends, surrounded me (both physically and emotionally). They gave me hugs, made me laugh, and every day reminded me of why it is I feel safest and happiest in a theatre.
The irony of sharing this post right after talking about how I want to share more current stories is that there’s a lot I learned from this play that I don’t feel ready to share yet. There’s a lot more that I learned that will probably be shared in essay form at some point, but not yet. Still, despite some of the hard things that came with being in this play, I will forever be thankful to my director for believing in me, my dear friends who always know how to make me laugh, and to the character of Dorie, who taught me to always do the things you’re afraid of, and to never underestimate the power of talking a lot. <3