Sunday, September 17, 2017

Returning to the Stage—After 34 Years—Pray for me...

One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I did not get into the high school theater group until I was a junior. My twin brother and I were recruited that year by the director to fill out the quartet of the Music Man because she learned we were church choir trained but previously untapped for the shows.

And it was grand fun! We loved the Music Man experience. Then I was the lead the following fall for a performance of The Night of January the 16th, and our group put on Grease that next Spring, in which I was Teen Angel, singing "Beauty School Drop-out" as a solo.

Most people that do theater in high school hold fond memories of it but never again stand upon a stage. Me included. College, grad school, in my case, a few years as a spy (check out my bio), then I assumed the quiet life of a high school Latin teacher. 

I have supported my school's superlative theater group over the years by never missing a show they have put on. And Leonia High School has nothing to be ashamed of in terms of the quality of high school shows they have presented in my time there.

Over the summer I learned that the directors are putting on Romeo and Juliet this November. And they invited faculty members to consider auditioning for a few roles that they thought might be best served by actual adults—some bit parts, some significant...

I'm not going to to lie. From the second I learned this, I knew I would audition. And I also immediately felt that, if I were to agree to stay after school for six weeks of practice, I would just as soon do something on the larger side.

I am humbled to announce that the directors have cast me in the role of Friar Lawrence. 

In the coming weeks I will be posting regular reflections on this experience. The first thing I did this weekend to start getting ready with my lines was to write them all out by hand (I memorize best that way). To the left is an example of such a page from my script. 

As a teacher in the school, I feel a responsibility to be an example to the students, and so I must present myself to the directors "out of book" much sooner rather than later.

I'll close on this thought. I vaguely remember a bit of Shakespeare in high school. And I have even wondered from time to time at why Leonia High School has such a significant amount of it in the curriculum.

Having written out just the lines of Friar Lawrence in preparation for my role, I was blown away by the artistry.

I will go on record as saying that I now understand that William Shakespeare is indeed the greatest author to have ever written in the English language.

Updates to follow...


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