Every time I am handed a script, I embrace the challenge I am given: to step out of my own beat-up white converse and into someone else’s shoes. I grow eager to tell that new story and find a new escape—an outlet, from my own life. How often do people get the chance to exit their own life for a little while and fully embrace another? Not often enough. A script and a short character description gives you the shell of a person, and it is the job of an actor to then fill the shell truthfully with life. Before opening night performances, I feel as if I know my character better than I know myself.
I catch myself getting inside my head more often then I should. I get so caught up in my own thoughts that I begin questioning every syllable that comes out of my mouth. In other words, I am a dangerous over-thinker. However, theatre hands me the opportunity to get out of my own head. I can leave my mind and focus on someone else’s story instead. I used to have this opportunity twice a year while participating in a musical or a play at my community theatre. But, after graduation, I was scared I wouldn't find the familiar feeling of stepping into someone else’s shoes. So, just like Heidi in Title of Show, I became a college theatre dork. On the fifth night of school, I auditioned for three musicals and one play all in one night. I could feel my heart beating in my stomach by the time I finally collapsed on to my dorm room bed. I didn't get a callback for any of them. I internally cried and ever-so-dramatically mourned the loss of my theatre career.
Days later as I sat in Starbucks, soy chai latte in hand and bitterly blasting my audition song through my headphones, I came across The New York Times theater review for the same show I didn't just get cast in. I was losing myself through words, and in that one bright second, I discovered a new way to get out of my head and into the world of theatre. And like Samantha
Brown, I tried to savor that moment.
I am a theatre kid in college not majoring in theatre. That’s the name of my unauthorized autobiography. Everyday, I delve deeper into the idea that I don't need a character with which to hold hands and switch shoes. In fact, I don't even need an overly highlighted script to do that. I am introverted enough to sit for ninety minutes reading and re-reading an OnStage column about my favorite musical Godspell vs. Jesus Christ Superstar. Only then to sit for another ninety minutes and write my own response to that massive debate. But, I am also extroverted enough to run onstage in yellow leggings from Walmart and the gold stilettos of Margot, the designated UCLA Delta Nu Air Head. I have found more than one way to be touched by theatre.
Everyone needs an outlet. One to charge their phones, of course, but more importantly one to escape the marathon we are all running called life. I truly believe that it is not healthy for one to exist merely in one’s own mind. Luckily I found theatre, in many different shapes and forms, to be my outlet. I depend on it. That’s why I love it.