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I Act With Delight This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     With a soft click, the door closes behind me, and the last sliver of golden light disappears. My eyes adjust slowly to the enveloping darkness. I reach to the left to feel the cool wall and drag my fingertips along it as I inch forward. My hand meets the corner, and I turn left. Although I am used to the dark, all I can see is a tiny red light at the end of the walkway. I brush against the ropes and pulleys and slide along carefully to make sure there is nothing waiting to bruise my shins. Finally, I am able to reach out and punch the illuminated dot with my fingertips. Nothing happens at first, but I know what is coming. I hurry from the wings, sweeping the curtains aside, just in time to see the stage fill with a glorious light. This ... this is my favorite place.

For as long as I can remember, I have felt at home on stage. Whether I have a script, a microphone, a dance partner, or nothing in my hands, I am thrilled to be there. Nothing is more exciting than looking over a microphone and seeing thousands of eyes staring back at me. There is nothing more satisfying than to walk through the house lights, soaked in sweat after practicing a dance routine for an extra hour after rehearsal; to be in an ensemble and hear each voice swell with the piece’s crescendo is the most rewarding sound ever. I could not imagine my life without theater.

There is a line from Chekhov’s “The Seagull” that perfectly captures my love of theatre. A young woman, filled with the desire to be on the stage, exclaims: “I’m a real actress, I act with delight, with rapture, I’m drunk when I’m on the stage, and feel that I am beautiful.” That single sentence says so much about the feeling I have when I am on stage. I truly do act with delight, with rapture, and with every strand of my being. My senses are intoxicated with the heat of the lights, the swell of the music, and the echo of my voice against the back of the auditorium. In the middle of a stage, I feel myself radiate an inner glow that makes me feel beautiful.

Although I thrive on the audience’s attention, I also thrive on the euphoria within my heart. My heart bursts with the emotion of the character’s words and surges with the crescendos of the musical score. The most amazing part of performing, though, is that I know that the pure joy I feel when simply looking at a stage will never fade. I will always have a passion for performing.

What a blank page is for writers, an empty stage is for me. It holds so much promise with its unexplored scenes and emotions. It is amazing to be able to fill in the blank page of any stage. Throughout my life, I have had amazing opportunities to write in the pages of theater. Although I have been on many stages, my high school stage holds a special place in my heart. I have spent seven long years there, singing and dancing; memorizing lines and blocking; experiencing every possible combination of emotions - scripted and otherwise. Since I spend so much time there, the auditorium has become my second home. I know where all the doorways lead and what all the ropes are for. I know which curtains to hide behind to watch from backstage and which dressing room doors should be shut carefully because the audience can hear them creaking. I know that the large gash on the upper stage floor is from the huge bed in “Grease,” and that the white staircase backstage has been used in at least three different shows. I know these things like my own reflection, which is a comforting thought when I’m not sure of many other things in my life.

The school auditorium has been a safe haven for me. When I feel tangled up inside, all I need to do is walk into the auditorium, watch the lights come up, and feel everything else dissolve. It is comforting to open a script and step into the life of someone else. To be able to experience their feelings and thoughts is a release from everyday stress.

My favorite part of a musical is when too much emotion builds up between characters and swells in their voices as they sing. How beautiful is it to see how every problem in a musical can be resolved with a song.

Often I feel so at ease in the middle of a stage that, as I sing, I catch my mind wandering. I think of how easy life would be if it were all scripted and every dilemma could be settled with a few simple chords. Then I realize that if problems could be solved so easily, stepping onto a stage would not be as sweet.

I have a passion for theater, and I am lucky to feel so completed by something. When I am on a stage, I am filled with contentment. At a time in my life when happiness and contentment are hard to find, I am grateful for its escape. When too much tension builds, I know I can sing about it, just as the characters in musicals do. I know, too, that I have a place to go and am grateful that it is so wonderful. It is the one place

I can fill in the blank pages of the next scene in my life. I am comfortable and happy on that stage. I am home.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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