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In the Spotlight
Pulling the last few curls out of my hair I was almost exploding with excitement. As I put all the curlers away I repeated my lines over and over again. "And now presenting the Best Supporting Actress for Children's Theatre Company..." Frantically racing against the clock I was able to look over my lines once more before dashing out the door. As I hurried to my old beat-up truck, I was fumbling with what seemed like ten different things at once. I still had that minty-fresh taste you get right after brushing your teeth. On my way to my high school I cheered to myself quietly when I discovered that, there was hardly any traffic. I had spent all afternoon getting ready for this event and there was no possible way I was going to be late!
When invited to the Drama Academy Awards, you are asked to dress in attire similar to Prom. My mama, Sonia, had taken me shopping the previous week specifically for this event. In a few short hours we were able to find the perfect dress at a pretty cheap price, and after some reasoning I was able to buy dainty accessories to complement my floor-length dress.
For most of my fellow students Drama Awards mean nothing more than a time for friends to visit, but to me it means so much more; watching others grow and succeed over the course of the year, making friendships stronger and even creating new ones. All the while enjoying the wonderful sensation of pleasing a crowd on stage. The different struggles everyone encounter and then eventually overcome. Mainly though, the feeling of everyone coming together as a family, as a real Company. That is what I love most of all.
For the award ceremony all Company members are expected to arrive at least an hour early so that we can pull things together at the last minute if necessary. Which tonight, was definitely the case. For every award presented a short scene that went along with the award was given. I personally was assigned to present two awards; Best Supporting Actress and Best Costume, and for one of those I had no script.
When I finally arrived, I quickly walked from the student parking lot of Flowing Wells High School into the Fine Arts lobby. As soon as I arrived I could hear people arguing. Even surrounded by such calming and beautiful art I knew mass chaos was blooming. I immediately knew who the arguing was coming from when I heard one of them say,
"You don't even know how to work that contraption. Wait, wait, stop! Your gonna break it!"
The Techies were very possessive of their equipment and if anyone not in Tech touched it, they would freak.
Apparently, the slide-show my best friend, Jerrica, had spent days on, was not working. As they continued arguing, I took Jerrica, who was now in tears, into our drama teacher, Mr. Naasz's, office hoping to escape the arguing. Unfortunately, when we entered we were only met with more problems.
Nobody seemed to show up on time! Meaning that without students there to help we were not going to get a whole lot accomplished. There were still the awards given to students from fellow Company members to throw together, the slide-show still to fix, some people had no script for when they presented their awards, and worst of all, some of the awards were missing. So of course, the few people who decided to arrive on time had to do twice the work.
Thankfully, one of the girls in Drama Company had taken it upon herself to make the awards for the Upperclassmen. It is tradition for the Upperclassmen to each draw the name of an Underclassmen in their Company and give them a gift that is somewhat sentimental. The tradition applies the same way for the Underclassmen to give the Upperclassmen a meaningful gift or silly award. Normally these gifts are well thought out and very special to the recipient. However, this year they consisted of each person's name on a piece of paper with their gift/award written on it. Talk about "sentimental." No matter, this was not about to ruin this day for me or anyone else.
Some of the awards given out at this Ceremony were simple and actually rather hilarious. They were stuff like, Fastest Costume Change, or Best Accent. Others were most serious like, Most Improved Actor or the Special Snowflake. Mr. Naasz and Mrs. Call, the other drama teacher, each choose a student for those two awards and personally present them. Whereas students present the other less serious awards. One award I had been nominated for was Best Lead Actress for the show Addiction that I had taken part in that year. This award meant everything to me and I had been hoping for it. But as soon as the award ceremony had actually started, I had completely forgotten about what all I'd been nominated for.
Presenting the awards was one of my favorite parts. Seeing my "family's" expressions as they walked up to receive their award overwhelmed me with emotion. After they received their award some people chose to give a short speech of gratitude, which made me cry every time. Every skit presented was fantastic. Even if they didn't have a script, which a few groups didn't, they pulled it together nicely and made the crowd hoot with laughter.
We were almost to the end of the awards when they came to Best Lead Actress; the one I'd somehow completely forgotten about. My heart was "thumping" so loud I was surprised the girl sitting next to me didn't slap me and tell me "SHHH!" I could feel sweat starting to form all over my body; it was actually very gross. After they read the nominees the drum role started...
"And the award for the Best Lead Actress for Children's Theatre Company goes to..."
That pause felt like an hour of silence had passed by at least! I tried holding my breath but for some reason I was short on air. Then the name of the recipient was called,
My heart skipped a beat. I had actually won the award! I thought to myself, "No, this can't be real--it's gotta be a mistake!" My thought process was taking so long the girl sitting next to me almost had to push me out of my seat to knock me back into reality. As I walked up to receive my hard-earned award, my fellow Drama nerds cheered loudly for me. No longer was I nervous, my heart was no longer throbbing, my hands were no longer sweating, and at that moment I knew this was what I was supposed to do.
Every time I step foot on that auditorium stage, or any other stage for that matter, I experience a whole new adventure. To me, acting is so much more than saying lines on stage in a costume for some people. Acting is the thrill of making an audience cry when you want them to, laugh when its appropriate, actually tell a story through movement rather than just words. The thrill of acting with a variety of people all with different personalities is an experience all on its own. Those bright lights that almost blind you--not allowing you to see the audience, the standing ovation you and the rest of the cast may sometimes receive, the anxiety and butterflies you get right before stepping on stage, the curtain call when the show is finally over; that is my kind of adventure.
Receiving that award helped me realize that the stage is one of my favorite places to be. I realized that the stage is where I first truly found myself. I realized that the stage is like my second home. I realized that the bonds of friendship made while acting are friends that will last. Most of all, it taught me to never stop pushing myself. Pushing me to not only expand my acting but to become a better person.
Each year people join and leave drama and new memories are both made and remembered. For my memories, I will never forget my first year in Company with that special group of people. They helped make me who I am today and guided me out of my "comfort box." As for my new memories to come, I know keeping an open mind and having a will to learn will only better my chances for a future in acting.