an ode to thea theatre kids, i believe
(Despite the notes that my ‘ode to theatre kids i guess’ has received, I’m not proud of it. I let the message get lost while I was referencing as many shows as possible. That was not the intention and I truly wish that I never posted it in the first place. I’m not content with it and it’s honestly some of my worst work. I’d like to try again. Thank you.)
There is a secret society, underground, lurking in high school auditoriums. We float in lifeboats under our opera houses, humming familiar tunes that never quite leave us. We are so very different from each other and that’s magic in itself.
There are the leading players, chasing after whatever musicals land in the spotlight. They run blogs devoted to faux- emails and boys in bathrooms, and are often criticized. They are drama queens and kings and monarchs, demanding the spotlight. You deserve it, kids. You’re welcome to the theatre community. This is to you.
There are the eyeliner wrinkles; those who have charming voices and maturity and old age makeup. The Mrs. Potts and the Miss Hannigans, surrounded by beauties and orphan girls. They drool over Tonys and Conrads and other names foreign to the youth, but they are often just as young. This is to you.
There are the screenwriters, fixated on the bright lights and underlying themes. The stories enrapture them; from 19th century Russia to the end of the millennium, they are here for the stories. There are pages and pages of emotions in every note, and these Soundheims can hear every tear. This is to you.
There are the costumers and makeup artists, who might not find peace in the music or the plot, but in Dolly’s feathery scarlet frock. Or Glinda’s fuchsia frills. Or Grizabella’s whiskers. They look upon the stage with a passion for the lights, glittering and reflecting off of their work and their talent. This is to you.
There is the ensemble, left out of the light and friendships between the leads, with no lines, but an undying passion. To the altos and basses, who choke out the notes they wish they could hit and stumble the steps they can’t perform. These are the ones that work the hardest. They often haven’t taken tap classes since the womb, and their voice lessons are found in Choir Class. So they spend their nights watching Youtube videos and crying. This is to you.
There is the stage crew, who create the impossible. Who fly people into windows and to Neverland, rubbing their fingers raw as they scribble directions and spells onto the margins of their scripts. Who do perform magic every night, for a slice of cake at the cast party, a smile from the director, and eyerolls from the talkative cast. This is to you.
Finally, there is the most important part of any show. There is the audience. Without them, there is no point. There is no point to divulging the most human emotions, or spending hours memorizing beats and words, if nobody hears them. We have all been in the audience.
The leading players are often viewing the great shows, at home on their laptops with the lights low. The wrinkles drawn with Elf eyeliner watch high school students perform because the rights to “Guys and Dolls” and “Anything Goes” are cheap as hell. The screenwriters visit touring casts, desperate to meet casts that perform the words they cannot say. The design team watches the Tonys with bright eyes, exposed to colorful suits and floral dresses that spin with every twirl. The ensemble proudly watches their friends twirl on stages that they were not invited to perform upon. The stage crew muses as to how Mary Poppins pulls the world from her bag and how they’d love to have that power.
We are the audience, We are the generation of an outpouring of love and music. We are the theatre kids. And this is to you, my friends. My tight-knit family. May you always be satisfied.