This past Saturday was the final performance of my high school theater career. I’ve been writing a lot in the past few months about endings and new beginnings, and this time of year is finally here. The first of many goodbyes has come, and so I just want to talk a little about theater for me. It won’t be quite the same message as the one I plan to deliver at Candlelight this year (for those of you who will listen to that), but I just feel the need to talk a little about it. So let me just kick it off with this. Goodbye Tower Theatre.
If you knew me four-six years ago and asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would’ve said actor. Let’s just say that’s no longer the plan. In middle school, I took one “acting” class that was hardly acting from what I remember. I don’t remember a single monologue or any of that, but what it did do was make me want to do theater. Fast forward to my first story in freshman year.
As a freshman, I had really no idea about any of the school clubs or activities. It took me a long time to discover the theater, and when I finally did, I picked up my script and didn’t memorize it at all. Not a wink. Thinking I’d give it a go anyway, I marched my little freshman self down to the black box and I looked through the window. It was dark, there was a spotlight, and worst of all, there were people in there. It was an open audition. I was terrified and I walked away casually as if I had no interest at all. I don’t remember for that show it was or at what point in the year it was, but that was my first “taste” of theater. My next one was much better.
So my sophomore year is something that will live in my head as probably my worst year of high school, maybe beaten by junior year. Hard to tell, but anyway. I didn’t have many friends, I was in depression, and it was really just not a good time for me. I had 8th period off with some friends of mine, but in the second semester, one of them had their 8th hour filled. Well, that left three of us, and one of us was painfully annoying, so this other friend and I secretly planned to stop meeting in the library during 8th period and instead walk over to McDonald’s during 8th. One day, she invited me to go to theater and I had nothing else to do, so I tagged along. She dropped me off in the black box and I turned around and she was gone. So I just sat in the black box by myself wondering what to do. Props crew was across the room having their little props meeting, and they called me over and invited me onto props crew. From that moment on, I was in theater doing whatever needed to be done. I have a special someone to thank for that, but she graduated that year and I haven’t seen her in a while. It’s not the McDonald’s friend either. So that is how I officially got started in theater. The show was Little Shop of Horrors and it was fantastic. I was there for about half of the show, but man was it just mesmerizing to me. Going back stage and watching the actors sing and dance, talking to the fellow technicians, I felt like I had a home away from home, which at the time was one of my least favorite places to be. So theater became an escape for me, and I haven’t looked back since then.
I’m standing on the other end of 2 1/2 years of theater work and 10 shows. 5 musicals and 5 straight shows. 5 in the black box, 5 on the main stage. 8 on set crew, one on props crew, and one as an assistant stage manager. Doing theater is kind of like another way to measure time. We have our years, our school years, and I have my shows to measure. It breaks the school year up into much more manageable pieces, so thinking of 8 months of school becomes a lot less intimidating. We just mow through the shows and have our celebrations at the end of each show which give some rewards for making it through each show. It’s definitely an incentive to keep doing theater. But now it’s over, which has nicely dropped me at the feet of my own graduation and the summer. I have one last theater experience to go, and that’s the theater awards night and Candlelight ceremony. But, like I said, this past Saturday marked the very last performance that I will ever be able to participate in at Fort Collins High School. It’s over. People were crying during our break a leg tradition and everybody was super sad. I am very sad, but I didn’t cry, and here’s one thing I just never understood until now. Back in sophomore year, I was devastated to see the seniors go. I wanted them to stay and I thought they wanted to stay too. They talked about how great high school theater was for them and how much they loved it, and I never understood why they were in any way happy to leave it. Now I get it. I don’t want to leave it behind. Of course I don’t, but I have to in order to do what I want to do next, which is go to Utah and pursue my own passion. I’m very excited for the future, and in order to get there, I have to let go. Here’s a Carrie Underwood quote from “Starts With Goodbye.”
“I guess it’s gonna have to hurt, I guess I’m gonna have to cry and let go of some things I’ve loved to get to the other side. I guess it’s gonna break me down, like falling when I’m trying to fly. It’s sad but sometimes moving on with the rest of your life starts with goodbye.”
That encapsulates it very well I think. We can’t have it all. It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. Don’t be sad that it’s over, be thankful that it happened. I am devastated at having to stop, but I’m so blessed to have been a part of it. It was a huge part of my life, and just because I’m leaving doesn’t mean that I won’t carry each show in my heart, or each person and every friend I made while I was there. They’ll always have a special place in my heart, but now it’s time for me to move on to bigger and better things. I hope Weber has a theater department because I want to participate in it really bad, if I have time of course. Who knows.
I guess I’ve said all I really need to say. Theater made me grow as a person, and it gave me new experiences and I made new friends and memories that will stay with me forever. I discovered a passion I never knew I had. It helped me through depression. Theater is so special, and even though at times I hated it, like I wrote in another post, just go for it. I didn’t know if I was going to do this last show, but I’m so happy I did. I love those people even though I sometimes want them all to just drop dead. That’s how a family works sometimes. Thank you to all of you who made my theater experience special. Even as this chapter of my life comes to a close, and the final curtain falls on the stage, I’m immeasurably blessed to have known this in my life, and I will come back when I can.
All good things must come to an end, but we all know how the saying goes. With or without me, the show must go on. Thank you.