curtain call

Tonight it ended. So many weeks worth of hard work, laughing until your side hurt, cowering in the corner, crying out of frustration and every other feeling under the sun. Tonight it ended. If you've been living under a rock you wouldn't know this, but for the past 8 weeks I have been involved in the Musical Theatre Club and University of Pittsburgh Stages collaborative production of Urinetown, the Musical. And yes, it is about exactly what you think it is about. 

I've had to step away from my 'pretty' girl self and transform into something a little less appealing to the eyes. In fact, sometimes (almost all of the time) quite frightening. This thing is called theatre, and along with my fashionista self, its what I love to do. 

But tonight it ended and as a way to commemorate it, I've decided to share a piece of my experience. A piece, because you can never fully experience a show unless you're in it. 

When I first began the rehearsal process, I had honest doubts about whether I would be able to go through with the show.
With classes and extra-curriculars, I found my stress levels peak above the horizon (sorry guys, I had to). Looking back, I am beyond happy I stuck with it, I would have been genuinely disappointed if I had not been a part of this experience.

As anyone who has been in a show will know, there's nothing like it in the world. There are times when everyone is laughing and having a good time and you honestly feel like nothing in the world could ever make you happier. And, in a sense, it's very true. But just as your excitements peak, you find yourself hating your life. Not exactly, but pretty close. 

"Why have I been with the same 25 people for 14 days straight, 5 hours a night?" 
"Why do I never seem to see the light of day anymore?" 
"Why can't I memorize my damn lines already?"
"Can this please just be over so I can go home and sleep, only to repeat the same thing tomorrow?"

Yes, sometimes it's treacherous work. Sometimes your heart dies a little when you have to go over the same dance, time after time.

But when you're standing on stage, nailing that dance, or song, or line or whatever and the audience believes your story, the audience is living it with you-- when you are your character and find yourself twitching in public (yes, yes this happened). When you look into the faces of your fellow men and see not only a brother, but a sister as well: it's all worth it in the end.
When that final bow hits, you know you've done your job and it was a hell of a ride.

I couldn't tell you how many times I listened to the same lines over and over again, and even tonight, as the show closed, I found myself laughing along with the audience. Not just because the show itself is funny but because there were so many fellow actors who kept it alive. Who made different choices that worked and were hilarious and brought life to a show that they had done countless times before. And even more members working backstage to make the show ten times better with a dedication and commitment I can only hope to attain one day.

And even if someone tripped over a line, or forgot a dance step, or the speaker blew on your closing night and made the worst noise ever while actors on stage had to improve and sing a number accapella and stage hands ran around furiously backstage, the magic was still there. The hard work and dedication that every single person put in to the making of the production stayed.

Because at the end of the night when we walked off that stage for the final time and the music ended and lights went down on the stage, we weren't a bunch of college students from varying walks of life who may never see each other again, we were a family. A close knit group of individuals who sung backstage to support each other when the unthinkable happened; who laughed at stupid shit audience members said when they thought we weren't listening; who couldn't comprehend how someone could be so dumb as to bring chicken nuggets into a theatre, or cereal for that matter; who, for the past 8 weeks have seen each other at our best, our worst, and our strangest and still walked out of that theatre with a respect, and, in all honesty, love for one another. 

Because we did it and we know we will never do it again. But it was our moment and we showed them we can do it. 

Because when the water dried up, we recognized our town for what it was, what it was always waiting to be.

This is Urinetown.


Photo credit and dedication to the illustrious and ever talented Brittany Coyne, who was a part of almost every single production I've been a part of at Pitt and who has shaped me in becoming the actor I am today. I will miss your sassy (and sometimes intimidating) presence at rehearsals. I know you'll do great things. Mad Mex Wednesdays won't be the same without you. <3

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