Remembering being on stage

Curtain call on the last night of The Producers at Theatre Royal in Covent Garden
Picture credit: The Guardian

While driving down to see my mom today at rehab, Adventure Boy told me he’s thinking of joining the Drama Club this year. Upon hearing this, it got me very excited as I have encouraged him to try it out the past few years, but AB always backed out last minute. This year AB said one of his good friends plans to join so he’s excited to try it out. Guess what the play is? Fiddler on the Roof! A classic and a tremendous movie that holds dear to my heart. AB watched the film when he was in Second grade and appeared to like it. We plan to rewatch it again, just the two of us. Speaking of watching movies together, AB and I have been on an Alien and Predator kick lately. I hyped up Predator so much that all AB wants to watch now are all the Predator movies leading up to the final smack down between Alien vs Predator. It’s fun to point out the evolution of movie making with AB since movie making was done very simple and without much computer graphics since Alien was filmed in 1979. We are slowly making our way up to the more recent movies and it’s interesting to see how far movie making has come. But this blog isn’t about movies. It’s about plays.

So, to encourage AB a little more, I took the liberty to share my experiences being in plays during my school years. I told AB how it becomes an experience or journey being part of a team of actors and crew to produce a 3 hour play. Working on a play takes a lot of practice time and tons of memorization not only of your lines, but the lines of the people before you and after you. You become so familiar with everyone else’s lines that when they forget their lines, you mumble it to them. How in the beginning everyone is holding the script in their hands, reading from them and getting directions from the director. As days progress, the scripts are not part of your hands anymore and you’ve been able to memorize the lines. Then there are the down times when everyone has pizza and sits around with each other talking about random things. There are times when there are goofs and everyone laughs. There will be times when a background prop will fall at a random time and mess up the concentration of an actor’s lines. Of course, the attack of the giggles at a serious part of the play that is triggered by who knows what. Then the excitement leading up to seeing the background start being put together by the stage crews and being measured for costumes. Towards the end, there is a good and solid feeling of the entire play to move forward to opening night. I always loved the feeling of opening night because you hear the talking of the audience from behind the curtains, butterflies are felt in your stomach, you go over your lines over and over again just to make sure you know it. You ask your fellow actors how they are feeling and confess how nervous you are but wish each other luck anyways. Then there is a quick gathering of everyone with a pep talk or whatnot. The girls wipe down their skirts and fix their makeup, the guys fix their ties, the two crew members are ready any second to open the curtains. Then the play starts. The spotlight is so bright, you can’t really see the audience which only makes it easier to say your lines. Everything looks brighter on stage. More colorful. After all is said and done, all participants of the play come out for a bow. Holding each other’s hands in unity in experiencing the gratitude of our hard work is a feeling like nothing else. There are no words to express that feeling of being on stage. It’s not so much the end part, but the entire experience from day one to curtain call. It’s the journey. Each play is a journey and with it, you gain a family. I almost choked up telling AB about what it used to feel like. It still means a lot to me and this is why I still go to theater plays in Philly. It’s been a part of me and it always will be. If AB does join Drama Club, I hope he has a positive experience because I know I did as a young child up to my High School years. If he decides no to, well that’s fine too. We’ll just watch the play together in the audience. If he does decide to join, I’ll be the first one to stand up, clap and cheer when the play ends.

These thoughts I had to share.

This is one of my favorite songs by James Morrison. I love, love this musical piece. I guess it’s my Song of the Week. When it’s all said and done, it’s wonderful to have people who support you no what matter what you do in life. They keep it real.

6 thoughts on “Remembering being on stage

  1. I feel like I belong on stage; off-stage I tend to have an on-stage feeling when in front of a group of twenty or more people- in a classroom, in front of a congregation, even at a fair. It is wonderful putting a play together- from writing it to directing it- to the actual opening night. The latter is, for the playwright, tremendous fun, only when the actors are portraying the character or action correctly…one producing another’s play is quite different.

    1. I grew up being in plays and watching them. It’s quite a treat, especially when you have experienced what it’s like being in one, you appreciate the play even more because of all the hard work that goes into it. I hope AB joins the club. He’ll make new friends, hopefully. Friends that won’t judge him. 😦

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