At our last rehearsal, we had a great turnout, but that was just about the only thing about it that was great. We tried reading and blocking scenes with the kids, but they hated it so much that it became futile. We tried playing games, but they would just run in circles and not listen to us. We even tried to just get them excited for the performance, but they all said that they didn’t want to go.
While this was frustrating to say the least, I was still optimistic, especially when Brandie said that five of them had turned in their permission slips for Friday. But, the buses unloaded the kids at Saint Joseph’s, and it was a different story.
Only two of our kids came to the show, one of whom had never been to rehearsal before. Kids from other groups volunteered to join our group to fill out a few roles, but I still knew what had to be done. I had to be in the show. I had never acted before, and had no theater experience. I thought to myself “Ok, I can do one section,” but quickly I had been drafted into the first and third sections as well.
I wasn’t necessarily nervous to be in front of people and read lines, I had a fear that I didn’t know I would experience: I didn’t want to find out that I wasn’t a good actor. Granted, I had never acted before, so I knew it wouldn’t be so bad, and I could chalk it up to just being my first time on stage.
I got up there, read my lines as well as I could, and went back to congratulate the kids on the performance. Despite the general mood of our group throughout the semester, they were so excited. They had loved their time on stage, although one of them understandably said he had a lot of trouble pronouncing the words. For myself, I came to the conclusion that I knew I would at the start of this process: I should have tried theater in high school. There is something about having a rehearsal every week and then actually having all of that culminate in one performance that really felt like an accomplishment. I hope for the two kids who actually showed up the performance that they keep that with them, and that they go on to try theater again when they’re older. They may be young, but I don’t think this is something they’ll soon forget.