Everything in my life revolves around school, family, and friends. My paycheck fluctuates based on babysitting jobs. I am broke more often than not. The one thing I constantly have a supply of is stress. At fifteen, classes have become increasingly difficult, and the pressure to achieve heightens. There are days when I yearn to simply run away. I wish to escape my life and its confines.
I turn to a script. The words memorized, flowing through my mind, I unleash a torrent of pent up emotion. And in that moment I am no longer myself. I am whoever I want to be. I leave behind all of the day, the week; I leave behind what I failed in math class and argued with my parents about. I leave all of that, to a world that is created with a stroke of a pen. A world where entrances and exits are marked, characters are given props and settings, and endings determined with purpose. I come to a place where music swells in the growing excitement, and people, unprompted, break into song. A place so ridiculous yet so incredibly fantastic, a place so serious that it touches your soul with the sudden realization that it could be yours. And in that moment, I am connected to emotions that I have never felt before, perhaps will never feel. I begin to discover that I care for people and places I have never visited. And I feel closer to myself than ever before. Is it strange, that something that relies upon masks and facades shows my true character so clearly? Perhaps. For me, acting is a form of discovery.
I grew a great deal as a person last year. I realized things about myself that I hadn’t known before. We all grow both spiritually and physically over time, but freshman theatre class is what truly made me grow. Every morning during second period, I was made uncomfortable. I had to embarrass myself in front of people I barely knew. I was scared to be myself for fear that people wouldn’t accept me.
I had memorized the script but hadn’t meant what I was saying when I practiced. I was tired, sad, and angry. My turn came to present and I walked onto the stage flooded with light. It was blinding. Everyone in the auditorium became blurs of color. All of the sudden, I let go of everything and meant, really meant, what I was saying. More importantly, I believed what I was saying. After that day in class, I gradually began to worry less about what people thought of me. I laughed, I had fun. I discovered that when I act, I am myself. Acting took my mask away.
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