(An A to Z Challenge entry)
I first started participating in our community theatre (and yes, I spell it the British way — my community theatre taught me!) when I was five years old. Every summer, the city I lived in had a children’s community theatre production for youth. When I started, the earliest age was 5, but soon after, they upped the age limit to 8 I think. The cutoff age was 15, and my 10th production was when I was 14 (my birthday is in September so I just miss the cut off date to be in another play the following summer). Each production had about 40 kids in them. With so many kids, some of the roles were a bit of a stretch to the imagination, but all were fun.
As a shy, introverted kid, theatre was a way for me to express my creative side and come out of my “shell”. That doesn’t mean I was ever talkative while I participated (because I wasn’t — as soon as I was out of character and back to normal ol’ Kate, it was back to super quiet and shy instantaneously), it just meant I was able to take on a new persona every summer and express myself creatively. Before every performance on stage, I got nervous as all hell. But I was always able to focus the nerves. And to think, I did this in 10 years of community theatre and one production in high school.
As I told Jak at The Cryton Chronicles, a big part of this post will be if I can remember which plays I was in (and the character I played). He asked if I could remember them and the years, and I told him that is unlikely, but I at least know the first and the last one — the ones in the middle will no doubt be mixed up (if I can even remember them at all). I can still remember how the auditions went: We had to recite “Three little kittens, they lost their mittens and they began to cry” in different emotions. And before every practice and rehearsal, we did stretches to Enya’s “Sail Away” song. I can even remember the order the stretches went.
I can already feel this post is getting long, so I will move along. Thanks, in advance, for letting me test my memory on all of you.
- The Little Mermaid: At the tender age of 5, I was a dancing starfish. This was my premier performance.
- Babes in Toyland: One of the three blind mice. And to make matters worse, they wouldn’t let me wear my glasses, so I was literally blind. (Read I am not 20/20, I never was for more information about how bad my vision is.)
- The Pied Piper: One of the following children.
- Aladdin: I was a flag dancer, an attendant of the castle.
- Peter Pan: A pirate. This was probably my second favorite role to play.
- The Glass Slipper: A Lady in Waiting at the ball.
- Charlotte’s Web: This was one play where I think I had multiple roles, but one of them I know I was a person at the fair. I cheated on this one…my friend Katie had to help me think of this play. (We were in like 5-6 of these plays together and are still good friends!)
- Snow White: Again, no idea what I was — and I cheated on this one and had to ask a friend. But we think I played a number of roles in that one.
- The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe: I was one of the children, the eldest sister Susan. This was the largest role (and last in community theatre) I ever had, and by far it was my favorite.
So 9 out of 10 isn’t bad for remembering my roles from 13-23 years ago (even with a little help!). If I ever think of the last one, I will let you know.
In addition to the play, our directors also let us design the flyers and programs — one child’s artwork selected for each. My artwork was selected at least three different yrars — so it was another way I was able to express myself creatively.
I also was in a play in high school, it was called The Empire Builder, which was based of the development of the first passenger train, The Empire Builder, for the Great Norther Railway across the Midwest in the 1920s. It was started on June 11, 1929, in fact. I really liked this play because it was a small cast, with about 12 or so. I was a saloon owner in the 1920s. In other words, I was a whore in a brothel, but man did I have the best costume — a big purple and black lacy dress, with a big feather in my hair and lots of fun, gawdy jewelry and makeup.
I remember my Grandma Borman coming to this show and her expressing how much fun she had watching me. I also remember my boyfriend at the time not being thrilled I was a whore in a play. Hahaha. Silly him, it was only acting.
While I don’t participate in community theaters anymore, I LOVE seeing plays. Some of the ones I have seen in past year have been: Urinetown at the Jungle Theater, Tribes at the Guthrie, and Peter Pan at Morris Park Players. My friend was a pirate in the last one — and I was quite impressed with it –they even had the mechanics/equipment to let the actors fly! Pretty impressive for a community theatre production!
Even to this day, my acting days come in handy. Any time I have to give a speech or a presentation, I envision myself as an actor giving a performance. I channel my anxiety and pretend I am playing a role of someone else. Who knows, maybe one of these days I will dust off my acting skills and audition for a community play once again. I imagine I would have fun doing so. After all, it used to be a passion of mine.
Have you ever acted in a play? If yes, have you ever considered doing more? Do you like to see theatre productions and plays? Have you seen any good plays lately?