For the past seven years of my life I’ve been involved in theatre. In less than a week’s time, as much as I’m able to foresee, my “acting career” will be a fond memory.
I can remember my early elementary school days, when being forcibly placed in the sailor ensemble of H.M.S. Pinafore by our over-the-top thespian principal felt a lot like torture. But somewhere around age 10, probably due to my parents’ complaints about my lack of involvement in anything, I requested to be enrolled in acting classes. I want to say “and the rest was history”, but I would be lying if I didn’t say “and the rest consisted of about a dozen amateur shows, hours upon hours of dreadfully boring rehearsals, a number of genuinely great memories and friendships, and a ubiquitous loathing toward most actor-types.
Those tinges of negativity aside, I honestly did enjoy performing and dreamt for most of my preadolescent years to grow into the next big movie star. I played James in James and the Giant Peach, and Ryan Evans in High School Musical, among other lead roles (although of course if you’re male in youth acting you’re almost guaranteed a good part). When I became more serious about “my craft”, I spent Christmas breaks memorizing Shakespearean soliloquies and mailing out glossy double-sided resumés with my marble-eyed B&W headshot on the back. Like it was yesterday, I recall the day I auditioned for a show at a professional theatre company to be rejected on the spot as opposed to being sent a letter of refusal; that was the downtrodden day I realized it was too cruel a business for me, and went home to stroke off ‘Actor’ from my potential future careers list.
Inevitably, I fell in love with musicals. Hair, Les Miserables, Spring Awakening, Oliver!, Jesus Christ Superstar… I still can’t get enough of that shit. The first show to ever really touch my heart though, was Jonathan Larson’s RENT. So I guess it’s fitting that I go out on that note, starring in the piece of work that meant the most to me throughout my brief stint of theatrics:
We’ve performed five preview shows and officially open tonight. For a show of its calibre presented by a cast of teenagers in a high school setting, so far the reception has been extremely positive and my only hope is that it continues. There’s the exception of some Mormon group’s failed mission to have the show pulled/boycotted, but it has only inspired the cast & crew to push RENT’s heartfelt message further, and shout “homos, lezzies, dykes, crossdressers too!” much louder.
Performing never existed as the one love of my life and never really was my one driving force. But in one way or another, I can tell it will be with me, always. I have a week left of RENT performances, but not long after that I should be onto different horizons… though I’ve been noticing, strangely, how much I feel at home out-of-breath, in foundation and eyeliner, singing out into the brightly obstructed landscape of diamond-faced audience.
P.S. If anyone happens to be in London ON within the next week… http://tickets.grandtheatre.com/single/psDetail.aspx?psn=3225