All the world’s a stage

Published 8:34 pm Friday, November 14, 2008

I have often heard people say that everyone should play sports. They point to the character-building aspects of athletics, the way that individuals are forced to work together as a team. They point out that it’s not enough to have one outstanding individual member, but that all of the members of the team must succeed (and fail) together. They say that sports show the importance of practice and repetition to build expertise.

I believe that you can learn the same lessons from theater, as well.

As some of you already know, last weekend I took part in the Andalusia Community Theatre’s production of Two by Two, a Broadway musical. It was actually the first time I had been a part of any major stage production, outside of a few minor Christmas pageants when I was in elementary school.

I have long been a fan of Broadway and theater, counting Les Miserables and Into the Woods as among my favorites. But growing up in Gadsden and attending a very small high school, I did not have the opportunity to both perform on the stage and play competitive sports. I chose the sports, deciding that I would try my hand at theater in college.

Of course, upon arriving at college I soon discovered that the time and commitment just wasn’t there for me to participate in theater. My life was filled with the college newspaper, going to athletic events, attending parties and just hanging out to have a good time. Before I knew it, my four years were up and I’d not stepped foot onto a stage. At that point, I guess I figured that the closest I would get to actually performing in a live musical would be singing along to the CDs in my car.

That’s why I was ecstatic to learn that Andalusia has a community theater. I’ve only been in this town for a little more than a year now, and already I have become duly impressed at the endless array of cultural options this area has for such a small and sparsely populated part of the state. People who make fun of Alabama for being a backwater, arts-ignorant state have obviously never been to Covington County!

When I heard that ACT I was looking for male roles for an upcoming musical, I decided that I had to give it a shot.

The experience was well worth it. Already I have been stopped in public several times to be congratulated by people who saw the performance. I have also built several friendships that I hope can continue throughout the rest of my time in this beautiful little town. Finally, I have discovered that it’s never too late to try something that you’ve always wanted to do.

I couldn’t have gotten this opportunity without the help of so many people, including my boss and this paper’s publisher, Michele Gerlach, who was willing to let me off on nights when I had to rehearse. I also have to thank my director, Kelly Shepherd, and all of the wonderful hard working people who helped in the production of the show. It may not have always been perfect, but it was something that we worked on together and we can always be proud of that.

The curtain may have already fallen for Two by Two, but hopefully it won’t be the last time you see me on the stage.