Teen Thursday: Save the Drama for Your Mama

Mom always used to call me a drama queen. So when we moved to a new school Freshman year, I decided to make it all official. I mean, after all those lectures and eye rolls, maybe mom was wrong -- we didn't need less drama in our house. We needed more!

So I signed up for drama club.

The only problem was... I couldn't sing. Or dance. Or act. Or get up on stage and do anything in front of a group larger than, say, one. But my new BFFs were joining the club and trying out for the school musical, and I didn't want to be left behind. So I signed up. And everything was awesome --we read plays and talked about them and even got to miss school for trips to Toronto to see The Phantom of the Opera and A Chorus Line. Those were my first big shows, and I loved every minute of it -- sitting in the dark with my new friends, waiting for the curtain to go up, the music to start. The actors moved across the stage like we'd just interrupted a real story, unfolding right before us. It was magical.

I love drama club!

But then...

*Insert VH1 voiceover*

Things turned bad for the band. Rather, for me.

Audition time for the school musical. I kind of forgot about that part. We all had to show up early in the morning on a Saturday along with all the other kids who weren't in drama club but still wanted to audition. In groups of three, we were called up to the front and told to sing a few lines from the musical along with the chorus teacher, who was playing piano. I don't even remember the musical -- just the line from the song:

Ya gotta have heart!
All you really need is heart!
When the odds are saying you'll never win
That's when the grin should start...

Even with two others by my side, I... well, ladies and gentlemen, ever hear of the word CHOKE? It was invented on that special day. The chorus teacher kept stopping and starting over to give me pointers, the last one being, "Okay that's enough, thank you."

Next we had to stand in a line of five and copy a few dance moves from another drama teacher. Well he was this big bear of a guy, and even he made the steps look like cake. He was a prima ballerina compared to me. I tried to follow along, but I couldn't get the steps right, and I kept going the wrong way and knocking into the other students. I'm surprised I didn't hurt anyone.

By the end of the mortification I mean audition, I practically ran out of there, desperate to get home and drown my sorrows in a pint of ice cream. But the fun wasn't over yet! The following Monday, the cast list was posted on the board in the hallway for all to see. Of course they list the ten leads or whatever, the soloists, the characters with just a few lines. And then, like, EVERYONE else for the chorus -- that mass group that kind of stands in the background singing off key but it doesn't matter because there are enough decent singers to carry the rest, and that way, everyone gets a chance.

Everyone but me. That's right, I didn't even make the chorus.

My friends, who'd both scored decent parts, tried to console me. But truthfully, I was relieved. I think the whole school was relieved. And soon after, I gracefully exited drama club and focused instead on a new venture. Writer's club. I think it was a good tradeoff for all involved!

So, drama kids, let's see a show of hands! Tell me about your drama experiences in high school. Did/do you try out for the plays? Are you a prima ballerina, American Idol hopeful, or an uncoordinated clod who can't carry a tune (aka a "Sarah Ockler")? No judgments here, friends. Trust me. :-)

And by the way, if you're looking for some great theater/drama club contemporary teen reads, check out ONE WISH by Leigh Brescia and MY INVENTED LIFE by Lauren Bjorkman!


Micol Ostow said...

Uncoordinated clod. But way too shy to have ever even attempted to join drama club! Bookworm 4-eva!

Genevieve said...

I was in ballet from age 4-17, choir from age 12-19, and theatre from 14-21 (last year). In 10th grade I was able to make it into an intermediate acting class by auditioning in (and not doing beginning acting). I got really sick and missed half of the 1st semester and kept flubbing my lines during practices. For the semester final we put on a show of skits and monologues. Everyone did 2 scenes but I had to do 5 (as extra credit) because I was literally getting a D and was being asked to leave the class for the next semester. I had begged the teacher to let me stay and wait to kick me out until after the final performance b/c I wasn't sick anymore and would be there. He was an ass and told my counselor that I HAD to leave.

In the end, I ROCKED all 5 of my skits/monologues. I even wrote one of my monologues and I made sure that one skit had singing and dancing. Needless to say, the teacher was begging ME to stay in the class (also calling my parents!) and offered me a sizable part in the next play (which was months away), no audition needed. Partly because I knew that I couldn't do the play (ballet 6 days a week) and had already reorganized my schedule, I explained that he missed his chance and turned down his offer to return to class and do the school play. I never regretted that choice!

Genevieve said...

Oh, and I was curious on what the musical you used for the audtion. According to my googling, it was "Damn Yankees" a broadway musical. : )

Stasia said...

Oh, yeah, I danced in the ensemble of DAMN YANKEES myself. Was a dance & theatre geek my entire child- and teen-hood -- total Gleek before gleekdom was cool (or maybe that's still just wishful thinking). Actually, I'm still a theatre nerd, I just write, too. Thanks for the theatre book rec's. LOVED this post!

Amberdenise said...

I was a drama kid, but I usually got cast as an old MAN. (That was humiliating for a teenage girl by the way.) Although I did get a pretty cool solo in one of the musicals. . .

jenniferpickrell said...

I LOVED drama club...but why didn't I think about having a writing club at my school???

Acting didn't make me nervous, but singing or public speaking? Can't do it.

Most fun part ever - Renfeld in Dracula. I got to run around, acting crazy. Hmm...I once played a nutty cab driver and another time a witch. Maybe they were trying to tell me something?

Jessica Love said...

Like the above comment, I was also a dancer in the ensemble for Damn Yankees. :-)

Lindsey Leavitt said...

I wasn't in drama club/class, but I did do a lot of the school plays. I was cast in one because I was very tall, and the boy lead was very short, and the director thought the awkwardness was hilarious. Yes, being reminded of my Amazon stature was a riot!
But I also bombed one of my auditions. I sang Oscar Meyer weiner for my song. It was downhill from there.

Claire Dawn said...

We didn't have drama club, but I acted in every play I came near. At school and through college.

Lauren Bjorkman said...

I didn't even dare try-out! I just watched my friends do it. So kudos to you. And LOL!

Sarah Darer Littman said...

I was a grade A Drama Geek. I would add E Lockhart's DRAMARAMA to the reading list, too!

Sara said...

I was a drama - and music! - geek, too. I always got selected to play the bitch, I guess because I played bitchy really well.

Another good book with a drama element is WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON.

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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