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The first time I set foot on a stage

By Hannah Haugen
junior, Stafford High School  

 

            There are so many things a person can never forget once they learn how something is done. Looking years back, however, it seems that the first time for all of those things was always the hardest. It was the same the first time I set foot on a stage.          

    I had a small part in the musical “Oliver.” I was a kid who didn’t have to sing alone or say any line that was given to me when I first started. All I had to do was blend in with the people on stage and I was just fine with that. However, there was one line they needed a kid to say.              

Much to my chagrin, they decided that I’d be perfect for the part. Just before the end, I simply had to say “Hey, he’s got Fagon’s money!” In my entire life, I had never been more terrified. The moment they told me to say it, my heart sank and I wished I could find a hole to crawl into and never come out.  

My mother sat me down at the kitchen table and coached me in a British accent so I would sound like I belonged in the London setting. I thought that if I messed up, they’d make some one else do it. But they were going to make me whether I liked it or not. Then I decided that if I was going to have to do it anyways, I may as well do it right.  

The two months of rehearsals dragged on and I began getting used to, and actually enjoying my line. I loved hearing my voice reverberate back to me. I never realized that practicing in an empty theatre would be completely different than performing in front of a full-house.  

On opening night, it felt like routine until I stepped onto the stage. Although the blinding lights made it so I could not see any individual face in the audience, I could see each silhouette. It felt as if their shadows were taunting me, waiting for me to mess up.  

I made it through the entire first act, blending in and trying to lay low. At the time I didn’t know, but I stuck out more than the rest when the short me had to jump in order to sit on the tall stool that was my perch. The closer my line got, the more butterflies danced around in my stomach.  

When the time came, I inhaled deeply and shouted out my line as best I could. To my surprise, I heard no laughter or snickering, and I was relieved. I couldn’t have been more proud of myself for doing so well. The rest of the performances, I proudly shouted my line. Now, I say or sing what ever I’ve been given with energy and joy. But I’ll never forget my very first time on stage, and how I got past my fear of those shadows beyond the edge of the stage.





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