Waitress of The Pack

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I was backstage, nervous as ever. Counting the steps it took to get where I'd be going. Thinking about my lines. Going over my entrance. At least I could barely see the audience, that was a good sign. Then it came, my cue. I had to be the waitress!

Take it back to December, 2007. After a lazy November, the only thing I was doing was playing the trombone. I knew I needed something to do before the winter blues swept in. Then it came to me- the musical! Yes, the musical. The last time I was in a show was in the first grade playing a book worm for some play about Bach. I remember I delivered that one solitary line pretty well. That and a few class skits were all I had to go from. I did see most of the middle school's theatre productions, not to mention sing very loudly to Wicked and Hairspray whenever I was finishing some ho-hum homework assignment. And dancing, well, as far was I was concerned, I could bust a move on the dance floor-at least that's what people have told me. So I was prepared as the average person when it came to the stage. Not bad.

It was Leader of The Pack that year. I looked it up and read that it was about the early 60s and the songwriter Ellie Greenwich. It sounded good to me. So I went to that interest meeting with my friends. At the end of the meeting Mr. Barbella, the director, said to write down on the audition sheet what other plays that each person had been in. All of my other friends put down the half dozen they were in just that past year. I decided my experience in elementary school wouldn't make a difference, so I left it blank.

We had to learn all the audition pieces, such the dance for 'Wait 'til My Bobby Comes Home.' O.K., not going to be a dancer, I could tell that right away. We also learned the song 'Be My Baby'' it was alright. Then came audition day. Don, Don, Don! Some people were freaking out a little, like 'I hope I get a good part! I really hope I get a good part!' and all. But I was new to all of this; if I had just gotten in I would have been good with that. So when I danced' it was an effort. Singing was quiet, but chorus-worthy. Then acting, well that was pretty alright. My part was the mother and I delivered the lines with exclamations and movements, pretending to sew and being mad at 'my Eleanor'. I overplayed it a bit, and I had no idea how I did, except that I know I wasn't terrible. I felt good about it. That's a good sign, right?

A couple of days later, the last school day of 2007 actually, the cast list was out! I skimmed the acting list quickly for my friends and saw who got what part. Then I searched for mine in the company list. I couldn't find it. Hmmm' O.K. Wait, but I'm an eighth-grader! I thought. They, like, had to put me in! I got seniority, didn't I? In the middle of my 'this-is-a-mistake' mini freak out, one of my friends came to check it out for himself. Then he congratulated me for getting an acting part. What? I asked him where my name was, I didn't know they had a section for one-liner people. Then he showed me, The Waitress- Kristen Wise. Kristen, oh well. But hey, I got a part!

January and February went by fast. That time from three to five, Monday through Friday, I was enjoying being part of the cast; sneaking in food between scenes and trying to learn the dances as best as I could. Not to mention my five -yes, five!- lines. The Waitress was the audience's funny break in the scene when the two main characters were divorcing. I practiced those lines almost every night. I even added some to what was written. But Opening Night was approaching.

I kept going back to the whole catch of this musical thing: the audience. What would I do? Would I get stage fright? But my friends calmed my worries by doing the whole 'You're doing fine, Kirsten' routine. The teasers helped a lot. I didn't have to act out my waitress part in front of my peers, thank God, but I did get a taste of performing in front of an audience in a whole-cast number. I remembered what my friends said and tried to be more excited than anxious. When opening night came, I was almost shaking inside the costume. Act 1 was great. But my part was the beginning of the Act 2. I got to my spot back stage, actually shaking this time with cold nervousness. Then I said to myself, 'hey, you gotta do what you gotta do'. So I came out on the stage and did my job' and they laughed! I sighed with relief. Success!

Saturday's performance was better and Sunday was a tough crowd, but I knew I did great in all three shows. My friends who weren't in the play congratulated me on making them laugh. Even today I still get comments on how I should definitely stay with the whole musical thing.

Everyone tries new things. At first one might be anxious and wonder if they made the right choice, and most of the times it was. People make new friends and learn new things. But the best thing they will learn is what they learn about themselves. I never knew I could act, but now I know I can at least handle five lines! These days I'm in a monologue class, and progressing quite well. So I can handle more than five lines, and it makes sense because once a person has got their foot on stage, on the field, or anywhere, they can be the star of their show.





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