Not everyone enjoys performing. Between the paralyzing effects of stage fright and the pressure to remember lines and cues, acting can be a daunting undertaking. Yet, in my experience, the rewards far outweigh the stress. There is something so magical about acting, it is hard to explain. Those who have done it know the thrill and satisfaction that comes from a job well done. The energy one feels from the audience, the joy of playing make believe, the sense of pride one takes in portraying a character in a way that touches the audience; there is simply nothing like it.
I have always loved acting. From my very first role, I was hooked. I jumped at every opportunity to audition. With each role in which I was cast I would spend hours researching the character, in addition to memorizing lines and walking through blocking and stage direction. Yet in spite of the work required, the countless hours of practice, it has never felt like work. Even when stage fright is at its worst and I am trembling backstage as I wait for my cue, I love it. I am so blessed to be part of this theater, this group of talented actors, directors, and volunteers.
In my early twenties, I walked away from the theater. Life had begun to demand more from me, and paying rent took precedence over my time and energy. I had also had a run of failed auditions, at multiple venues with multiple directors, and the insecurities of youth had chipped away at my confidence. I began to think I wasn’t any good. Before I knew it, 15 years had passed, in the blink of an eye. While I had begun to consider acting a part of my youth, something that “I used to do”, I could never quite shake the longing I felt every time I watched a stage production. Every performance I attended stirred in me such desire to be part of it, to get back out on the stage and play. Still, I told myself it was over for me. I thought I would never return. Luckily, fate had other plans for me.
Danielle Berry-Massey and I got to talking on day at work about theater. I had seen her in a York College Children’s Theater production, and at the time of our conversation, she was assistant directing the Yorkshire Playhouse’s production of “Mouse Trap.” She suggested that I come down for auditions for the next play. I half-heartily agreed to come with her, and only if she was going to audition. The play was The Madwoman of Chaillot, and we were both cast. So began my current adventure with the Yorkshire Playhouse.
Since Madwoman I have been cast in my very first leading lady role, my first leading man role, I have been elected to the Board of Directors, and I am co-assistant directing for our current show, “A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas.” Furthermore, I believe I have grown as an actor and an individual since beginning the year with the playhouse. My crippling stage fright is all but a distant memory, and I have been honored to tackle new roles I never thought I would have the chance to take.
I don’t know what the coming year has in store for me. While I know I plan to stay involved with the playhouse, I don’t know to what extent I will be able to continue this amazing journey. I hope to continue to be cast, but the demands of adulthood may have other plans for me. No matter what the future holds, I know that I have found a family at the Yorkshire Playhouse, and this last year has given me memories I will forever cherish. I just hope I can continue to come and play.