As children, my sister and I spent every weekend at our grandparents’ house. Sometimes we watched movies, got ice cream from the ice cream truck, or played outside, but two things remained consistent every week we played some sort of game (usually Uno or Sorry) and we did something related to music. My family absolutely adores music; so much so that my sister and I recorded a song in my uncle’s basement. (It’s honestly kind of cute. It’s a medley of different Christian songs because we didn’t really know any other music. I named it “the Jam of the Funky Monkey” even though that was the only reference to anything being funky or a monkey.) Someone was always singing or dancing or singing while dancing. This has to be where my love for musical theatre began. Well either that or the Disney princess movies, who knows.
My sister and I participated in the children’s Christmas musical at our church every winter until middle school (where they said we were too old). It was always my favorite and my sister’s least favorite pastime. So going into high school I was stoked to have the opportunity to get back on the stage. I signed up to participate in that summer’s musical Legally Blonde.
A couple weeks after the whole cheerleading fiasco (mentioned in the previous blog) I had my first day of rehearsal on a Monday evening, which went a LOT better. I brought the script, that I picked up from the school earlier that month in my Washington D.C. bag I got from my 8th-grade trip earlier that year (super cool, right?). I recognized a couple of people from the cheerleading practices, but they were talking to other people and I didn’t want to interrupt (AKA I was too shy to join a conversation). So I sat with my phone pretending to text someone cause I thought it made me look cool. Eventually one of the people from cheerleading walked past where I was sitting. So I mustered up the courage to say hi and introduce myself. (It didn’t go over well and 14-year-old me was a little butt hurt). BUT a girl who was sitting in the same area introduced herself and said she was also a freshman. Little did I know we would end up doing musicals together until we graduated. She truly became one of my favorite people.
The rehearsal began with everyone sitting in a circle and reading through the script. *dramatic sigh* So, the summer musicals were open to current students and alumni. I thought the girls at my cheerleading practice looked old. Everyone, except for myself and my new friend, looked like full-blown adults. You could have told me they all had kids, full-time careers, and were old enough to be my parent and I would have believed you whole-heartedly. Okay, maybe not the last one for all of them, but for some? Definitely.
My community circle consisted of kids from my middle school, who were my age or younger, and their parents. There were maybe a couple of parents in their late 20’s but they were the closest I had seen to young adults. Looking back, and doing some math, I think there were maybe two people who were over the age of 30. But the fact that the girls looked like full-fledged women with 401k’s and the men had full beards made them look super old. When in all actuality they’re a stone toss away from my age now (ew time).
Regardless, I really enjoyed my first practice. Although practice ended at 10:00 PM which was way later than my usual 8:30 PM bedtime.
Set. Set. Set.
One of the coolest aspects of participating in the plays and musicals at my high school was the opportunity to build the set from scratch. We would paint the walls and build the benches, stairwells, libraries, you name it! The set building sessions (which we just called Set) occurred twice a week before the practices and once on Saturday. I always attended Set on the days I had a rehearsal, it made the most sense to me.
So, the following Tuesday was my first Set and rehearsal practice day. This meant I stayed at school from 12 PM until 10 PM. Surprisingly it went pretty well, even though I texted my mom every hour on the hour.
Up until this point, I never understood that people wore old clothes to build stuff so they didn’t get their regular clothes dirty. As a result, I wore my cute crop top and some nice denim shorts, and some cute sandals. You know, in case there were some cute upperclassmen. *eyes emoji* And I must say I was looking pretty cute if I do say so myself. My director took one look at me and laughed. She asked if I had anything else to wear. I looked at my mom who escorted me in, while she looked at me expecting me to say yes. Obviously, I didn’t. I was trying to look cute! My director ever so kindly let me wear her clothes while she changed into something else. Which was really sweet, except for the fact that I was a SUPER sweaty kid when I got nervous. And I was nervous pretty much the whole day. (I am still very sorry about that). After a quick meal, we went to rehearsal. Now, this was my first, of many, culture shocks of the year.
So I attended a Catholic high school. I grew up a non-denominational Christian. Our church services and some of the fundamental teachings are starkly different. It’s like taking a person from the mid-1800s and giving them a smartphone, pretty mind-blowing.
Dear Lord, I think
This was the first practice where we started learning the songs and the accompanying dance moves. But before we could start anything, we had to stretch. We started with some basic stretches: right arm across and over left arm, butterfly, touching our toes, etc. There were some I… hadn’t heard of before, specifically the cat-cow. We got on our hands and knees and curled up our back (kind of like a cat when it’s scared) and then we lowered our backs into a u-shape (I’m still not sure why this is cow). We would do this a few times and then we would go into a position called worship (where we pushed our hips back and sat on our feet with our arms outstretched.)
Now I knew Catholicism was going to be different from the Christianity I grew up with. However, I never expected a mandatory prayer in the middle of the stretching. I looked around the room to see everyone’s head was bowed and their eyes were closed. So I quickly closed my eyes and started praying:
Umm, Dear Lord?
I am not sure why I am praying or what I am supposed to pray about, but here I am? Thank you for my parents and my sister and my family and for the new friend I made and-
I was cut off by our director starting the rest of the rehearsal. From this, I assumed Catholic people prayed really quickly. So for the remainder of the summer, I tried to think of what I wanted to pray for beforehand so I wouldn’t take up too much time. Come to find out, that was just the name of the pose. I was the only one praying. Cute, right?
Every week I bounced back and forth between practices for the musical and cheerleading. We had four performances for the musical, which were all great, to my recollection. I tried out for the cheerleading team and made the Junior Varsity team. That was pretty much my entire summer.
To be quite honest, I am really trying to pull some deep meaningful stories from each of these posts. Some of these have and will have good ones. Others may have ones that I just pull out the air (AKA get from the Holy Spirit). So comment down below if you’d like me to omit this section for posts that don’t have such a ‘strong’ message. But anywho…
To the girl who thought she never could…
Joining the drama club that summer was one of the best decisions you ever could have made. You’ll get a lot from your experiences.