Opening Night This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     I stand in the heat of the parking lot for a moment and then open the door, stepping into the chilled theater. I am home. I am the first one here. I walk quietly onto the stage under the work lights, enjoying the dim silence of the moment. I wander among the set pieces, pensive, becoming the character I must portray, recalling my lines, my movement, the feeling.

I stop down center stage and look out over the darkened auditorium. I am loath to break the silence, but I inhale and deliver a line, checking the acoustics. I know they will be completely different once the seats are filled, but to hear my voice reverberating in the room is reassuring.

A loud click and the sound of footsteps pull me from my meditative state. As I turn, I see a fellow cast member struggling to make her way off the stage with all of her belongings, and I run to get my bags from the wings and walk ahead of her to open the dressing room door for us.

“This is why I always get here early,” I say as we arrange our costumes and make-up. “I like to claim a spot before everyone else gets here.” She laughs. As the majority of the cast arrives and settles in, I am just finishing my make-up and preparing to get into my costume. As I transform myself physically and prepare mentally for the performance, I suddenly hear a male voice bellow over the din of the dressing room, “Can anyone do make-up?” Several of the girls groan and I reply, “I’ll go. I’ve got mine on already.” After rushing to finish every guys’ make-up in the cast, I have just enough time to get my shoes before going into the parking lot for our focus.

The student directors herd everyone into a circle for some last-minute announcements and a quick vocal warm-up and pep talk. We then join hands as we focus, our eyes closed, and the directors describe in calm, soothing voices how we will begin the opening scene and blow the audience away.

The circle breaks, and we gather around one of the cars. Now it is time to let go, to calm our nerves with one of the greatest songs of all time, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” We sing at the top of our voices, competing with the music that is turned so loud that the car is shaking, victimized by our madness. With the final note, we expel a battle cry and are ready.

I stand between the curtains in the dark, watching the acting, waiting for my cue. It comes. I enter into the blinding stage lights, delivering my first line as I move. My voice fills the theater, but it is no longer mine. I am no longer myself. The character I have become fills my every thought, every movement, every word. I am no longer me, but through this characterization

I am at peace with myself. I am an actor. I am skilled in my trade. Knowing this at this moment is knowing who

I am.

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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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 11 at 2:00 am
i love this so much!
Penmaiden said...
Sept. 26, 2010 at 9:59 pm
Awesome!  This totally captured the feeling right before getting on stage.  The mix of nerves and eagerness.  Very well done!
blueandorange This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm
Wonderful!  I love it!
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