"Feels Like Home..."

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Shelby Tyler

A dedication to the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, KY. Thank you for the memories you’ve given me and for everything you’ve taught me. Never forget the impact you have made on so many of us or the impact you will make on so many more.

The sense of adrenaline floods you in an instant, with bodies flying past you as they check just one last time that everything is in the right place. The crew tightens all of the ropes lined up against the wall without a second glance towards the actors while the racks and racks of costumes are triple checked by the changers as they try to remember the order of each scene. To an outsider, it gives the persona of controlled chaos, with everyone equally panicking in their respective area. Standing in the wings that are separated by four black curtains on either side of the stage, you find yourself trying to remember every note your director gave you as the stench of stale popcorn floods your nose and reminds you that the time is finally here.

Looking back, you could see your fellow castmates fidgeting with their costumes & maneuvering around the other set pieces that sat in the wings. Fingers tingling with anxiety and excitement, you hear someone call you to your places; the show is about to begin. You all share a collective nervous smile with soft whispers of encouragement as the chaos dies down and the emotions run higher. The stage creaks beneath your feet as you take the stage behind the famous, blood-red curtain.

The work lights begin to go down, your eyes not being able to adjust quickly enough to keep your vision from blackening. However, there is no worry; you have this stage committed to your memory. Every wood chip and step carefully placed on the map inside your mind, with sticky notes filled with the information you have received over the past eight weeks. The tree you worked every Saturday on is placed directly behind you, while the two platforms are placed parallel to each other on stage left and right.

On the other side of the curtain, the audience begins to decrescendo as your director begins their curtain speech. Every dance move, every line has all lead up to this moment of opening night. Your breath catches as the theatre fills with welcoming applause, the tension in your shoulders finally releases when your body remembers that this is where it belongs; surrounded by the people you hold closest to your heart and the product of your incredibly hard work ready to be presented. And for a split second, you remember the saying: Maybe home isn't a place. Maybe, it's a feeling you have inside of you.

Finally, the curtain rises.