It has consumed our time for the last two months. And as we steadily approach opening night, our commitment is growing more intense along with our nervous excitement.
It's been nearly twenty years since I set foot on a theatrical stage. Twenty years since blocking and character shoes and stage make-up. Twenty years without the anxious twinge of standing off stage waiting for your big entrance and hoping you remember your lines.
The high school kids have graciously accepted us "older" alumni as we join them on the same stage that held my thespian dreams those many years ago. The same stage scuffed and taped and dented by a guy and his doll, a fabulous fable factory, a fiddler on the roof, and so many, many more.
This rare opportunity to invite my children onto that same stage to partake in the mysterious world of theater — where introverts sing in spotlights and validation supervisors become music men.
Since graduating, my life has been filled with degrees and occupations and family and children. I joined the rat race and became a responsible adult. And I forgot.
"You can't cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." (quote from Christopher Columbus)I forgot I had it in me. This place of courage where I put myself out there, take giant risks, and trust people I just met. Where I can be whoever I want to be, if I allow myself the freedom. Removing layers of control and not caring what other people will think.
That's why I loved "the stage" — it symbolizes freedom.
Because it's okay to be different there. To take the audience on a journey of believing you are someone you're not. And showing them a side of you they've never seen before — and maybe will never see again, except on the stage.
And after an emotionally difficult year, after losing loved ones to cancer, I am thankful for this opportunity to reunite with old friends, sing and act beside new ones, and celebrate a thespian tradition that has enriched my life and I hope, now my children's.
"The Music Man" March 22-24, 2013 at Springfield Township High School, Erdenheim, PA.