This I Believe

Alycia - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: creativity

Ever since I could talk, everyone knew I would be an entertainer. My mom signed me up for dance classes to expend some of my excess energy—hoping that one night the toddler would go to bed before the adults. I had a knack for moving gracefully and learning steps quickly. At my first dance recital, I was the little blonde hogging all of the attention–singing the song we were dancing to at the top of my lungs. The dance teacher modeled the steps on stage with us, since we were only three, which really offended me, because “I COULD DO IT MYSELF!”

At six I competed in tap, jazz, lyrical and hip-hop. Every day I rehearsed for 4 hours. Even at that young age, I knew that this feeling of being onstage, in front of hundreds of people was a feeling to embrace and remember for the rest of my life. I remember waiting backstage, all of us hustling to get our hair buns on tight enough, our lipstick on dark enough, and our costumes tied tightly enough. The pre-performance adrenaline raced through my body, sending shivers and shakes from head to toe.

Always curious, I decided to take singing lessons, and a few years after that, acting classes. Juggling schoolwork, dance, singing, and acting, plus Hebrew school and a bat mitzvah, I found my schedule inconceivably hard to manage. Still, the joy I got from performing was too great to eliminate, so I put the dancing, singing, and acting together by auditioning for a musical theater program. That day completely opened my life to a different world that encompassed everything I loved.

Starting with The Music Man in 2000 through my current production of Cabaret, I have discovered a passion reflecting upon my inner Velma Kelly and Cinderella, Sally Bowles and Maria. For those moments onstage I am not an 11th grade student at Santa Monica High School. I practice being someone else, with my own sense and twist of the character. Life can become so stressful and depressing. People can become so cynical. Through my expression of movement, voice, love, and passion for musicals I temporarily escape the world’s hardships, embracing the love I feel for this art form.

Film is impersonal. Theatre electrifies. As the show goes on and the energy builds, I find myself Immersed in the story. The swarm of activity backstage all funnels into the way that I present myself on stage. The stop and go nature of film create an atmosphere in which I find it more difficult to foster creativity. With each yell of “Cut!” I feel the progress I make as an actress come to a halt. With theater, I can viscerally experience the story as it unfolds, sequentially, on the stage. Also, the connection I can make in theater with other actors helps the process. Creating an ensemble that exists to support each other makes me more comfortable—giving me freedom to truly experiment in my acting. In film, no such connection can be made.

I believe in musical theater.