I am a performer. I love to be in the spotlight. Wait, no. I just love to be onstage. Anywhere onstage really. Give me an ensemble role and I’m pumped. I think the only thing I love more than the actual performance is being part of the cast.
Some people might think of shows as you are your character, and the other person is theirs. You don’t talk much other than in rehearsal. Backstage we’re always in the little dressing rooms. However, that’s not what happens (most of the time). I’m not saying that backstage is a social hour. You still have to be in your character’s mindset. However, being around those other characters, even just running lines, creates bonds. You end up talking at rehearsals. Tech week. You become comfortable with the other cast members. You become as close as a family. That’s what I love about it. I cry after every show I do. You become so attached to your friends in the cast that you can’t imagine life again without all those rehearsals, without the stress or butterflies of being backstage, waiting for your cue. Maybe that’s just me, though. I’ve asked around, and not a lot of other people cry. They’re sad yes, but not bawl-babies like I am. I like crying after a show. It tells me that the show meant something to me, that the cast really became like a family. That’s what matters to me. That’s why I love performing. Yes, onstage, the lights in your eyes, staring off over that black blob of people that came to watch you is a rush within itself, but for me, one of the things I love most is walking offstage/backstage with the cast when the show is over. Whooping because the show went well. Changing back into your street clothes and laughing about what happened. Because when you’re with the cast, you feel like you can talk about anything.
Let’s do a little comparison. I went to school with some people for 7 years, give or take. I recently did a show with a cast comprised of people I just met this year. I have become closer to them, in the month and a half span we spent preparing for the show, than I ever was with some of my friends at my old school. And I’m not talking just the acquaintances I would say helloa to in the halls. I’m talking some of the people I would sit at lunch with every day. The people I considered pretty close friends. For 7 years. (Give or take.) So, clearly, something about performing creates a tie between the cast members. To me, that’s a really important thing. The worst thing that can happen is being stuck in a show where none of the cast talks. Nobody makes efforts to become friends. That shows onstage. Not becoming at least acquaintances with the other cast members creates a sort of awkward wall between people. And the audience can tell. Your characters cannot connect until your actual selves connect. You have to be part of the cast. That’s the joy of performing.
I just want to say that I’m glad performances exist. I’m glad you can be cast in a show with other people that you can connect and share memories with. I’m glad of these things, because you remember things when you are older. You think back on what you did as a kid. Who you met. Stayed in touch with. I want to be able to look back and think, “Wow. I’m glad I performed. I met so many great people.” I’m glad to be a performer. The theater community is growing. I’m just glad to be part of its cast.