As you may or may not know, I got into theatre and acting last year after growing up in an area that is completely deprived of the arts. It has been a year since I took my first Intro to Theatre class and decided to pursue acting. Since then, I have been Janet in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and was cast as Peggy Rogers in The Children’s Hour. Last night was the first time I got to show Peggy to the world.
My opening night was a HUGE deal because this was the first time the faculty had really seen me act outside of auditions. Rocky was just an event completely separate from the department. They see me currently as a newbie with no experience- which is true. I am new. I do lack experience. I don’t lack the talent and the drive, though. This was the first chance I had to prove to the Theatre department that I was just as talented and worthy of a role as anyone else, regardless of how many plays they’ve been in.
I was shaking the entire 2 hours before we went on stage. I sat in my costume, drenched with sweat, anticipating the worst and nothing but the worst. Then- something crazy happened. I was called for places. We had 3 minutes before we were going to go on stage. I have the very first line of the show and for the first time, I didn’t anticipate royally screwing it up. I took a deep breath and imagined freezing, but felt confident I wouldn’t. I thought about the fact that my voice could break and I could stutter over my words, but I reassured myself I wouldn’t. I was finally calm.
The stage manager cued us to enter, and there I was. In front of all the people I admired as actors and directors. I said my line with every ounce of confidence I had in me. My voice didn’t crack. I didn’t stutter. I was finally doing what I loved and doing it the best I could in front of the people who mattered most to my reputation in the department.
I finished my scene strong, and waited for my next one. I’ll be honest, my next one didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I missed a line and jumped to the next one. It threw everyone off for a few seconds but I recovered the best I could and got everyone back on track. I was terrified, but proud. I thought to myself over and over again- Has Cate (my theatre advisor/successful actress) ever done that? Has Gregg (department chair and director) ever made his cast as prepared as possible but someone just inevitably stumbled? I can’t be the only person to have every messed up, and I’m sure I’m not.
I felt defeated for a bit, but instead of letting it eat me alive, I embraced my mistake and learned from it. Tonight is our second show. I’m writing this while sitting on the floor outside of the stage and can say that tonight, when I did that scene, I almost messed up but didm’t. Because I learned from my mistake last time. I’m proud of myself for finally not letting one blunder consume me and eat me alive. I’m proud of myself for doing the best I could after making one human mistake. I’m proud of myself for not having a panic attack. I’m proud of myself for following my dreams.
I don’t really know what the point of this story was- it’s just what came to mind when asked to write a story. So I hope you enjoyed, and now I have this to always look back on when I (inevitably) mess up again, and have my second, third, or thirtieth opening night. I did it.