Farewell to the Stage


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I have been up on the stage for the majority of my life. From my short lived love of ballet from ages 4 to 7 to my true passion of theater and vocal music from ages 8 to, well, now. The stage has been my home for over a decade, for more than half my life. And I want to share how it has impacted who I am today.

My very first acting class was when I was 6. I loved every minute of it, but I especially loved my teacher Ms. Whitney. She was the lady who really ignited my love of performing, and I owe her so much. 

My first audition for The Wizard of Oz, I was 8. For auditions, we usually go in groups of 10 to 12 kids. My fellow auditionees were all upperclassmen in high school. I was absolutely terrified. They were so much bigger and better than me. So I did what any sane person would do: I ran out of the room crying. Then comes Mrs. Kristy Perri. She dusted me off, pepped me up, and got me back in that audition room. Without Mrs. Kristy, I would have never stepped back into the theater world again. Throughout my early childhood she was always there cheering me on and continuing my love for the stage.

The theater community I was in gradually started getting bigger and bigger. More and more kids came. At the ripe age of 10, my generation of students created Jr. shows, where all kids 8 to 12 could have their own show once a year. These Jr. shows are still prevalent today and don’t seem to ever leave. I cannot describe the wonderful feeling of, indirectly, affecting generations of kids.

I was 12 when I left the comfort of my private elementary school and stepped into the world of public middle school. Even though it was hard, the allure of the arts academy was too strong. If I am being completely honest, that switch was one of the greatest things that have ever happened to me. Mrs. Atkins was my choir teacher, and it was because of her that I found my love for vocal performance. Filling up auditoriums with just our voices, people were saying, “Wow! These are middle schoolers?” This switch totally fueled my desire to get that reaction no matter my age. Now every time I perform, I strive for the “Wow’s” and the, “She can do that?” and the “I want to do what she’s doing”’s. 

I was 13 when I finally had my “big” show, my big break. Into The Woods was definitely a turning point for me. I became older, more serious, more mature. The obstacles that I faced during that show was like no other before. 

Then high school started. The years where I was 14, 15, and 16 were rough. The friends I had before started leaving, dynamics changed, new kids started to appear, and the kids that I grew up with didn’t even say hi to me anymore. I became one of “the older kids.” It was during this time, that I became even hungrier for roles, but they always eluded me. I was placed away from my peers, and there was a stark contrast between me and those my age. “You’re too short,” “You’re too small,” “You look like a kid,” “You act like a kid.” These were the phrases that made my peers abandon me and the artistic teams push me away from them. I was desperate, grabbing anything I could hold on to. I always feel dumb and inferior when talking to the kids my age. I always feel like a kid and being treated like a kid with the teachers and artistic teams. I always came up short. This was when I started to realize that this wasn’t the organization that I grew up in anymore. 

I was 16 when I moved mid-sophomore year to Ascension from the big Lafayette High. The arts here are much smaller and less prevalent than at my middle and high school, but it is still so important to me. My first show here was Radium Girls. That was the first time that anyone close to my age actually treated me like I was one of them, like I was an actual person and not just a child.

Junior year was extremely rough for me. I started having extreme health problems and my friendships started to change again. If I am being honest, because of all of these different factors, theater, acting, and music was torture. I dreaded rehearsals and classes were a nightmare. And halfway through, I stopped. I stopped and took a break, for the first time in my life, from theater. 

The summer before senior year, I decided to have a last hurrah with my theater friends and decided to do Puffs. It was perfect. There were new faces and the performance and process was way different than the “usual.” The whole experience reminded me of why I love theater and its importance to me. 

Then senior year happened. I took a much needed break in the fall to deal with college stuff. I decided to try acting in that theater company again. Spoiler alert: it did not work out. I should have learned my lesson from junior year, but I didn’t. I couldn’t take it anymore, and I decided to leave for good. If I’m being honest, I have never felt better. I didn’t realize how bad it was for me until I stepped on the outside. The saddest part was that I wasn’t sad to leave. I had been with these people, with this organization for over a decade, and I wasn’t sad. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t love it, it was just time for me to move on and let it go.

Now I am in my last show that I will ever be in, in high school. It’s bittersweet, but I am ready to take the next step of life. I am ready to have fun and put on a great last performance! I am ready to tell a story with my school one last time. 

Theater has taught me a lot. It has taught me to be passionate, to work with others, to find family in places I never thought I would, how to find my true friends, how to be disappointed, and how to move on when it’s time. In a way, theater has helped to prepare me for college. It has shown me how to create relationships with others and how to let go of the past. So thank you theater, for everything.