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A Thank-You Letter to My Middle School Play Directors

A Thank-You Letter to my Middle School Play Directors

By: Marina Barnett

Dear Middle School Play Directors,

                  I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and I want to thank you. Thank you for not selecting me for your play. Thank you for rejecting me and crushing my middle school dreams.

                  You see, when I entered middle school, High School Musical was at its peak hype and I had dreams of becoming the next Sharpay Evans-- dreams that you crushed. Not once, but twice. But again, I’m thankful for this.

                   I was so excited to try out for the play. I couldn’t wait to take the stage in my first school production. I imagined myself singing a solo while doing choreography across the stage in a leading role. But, I didn’t even get a call-back. The next year, I decided that not making the play once wasn’t going to stop me. So, I auditioned again. Once again, there was no call-back, no leading role… just an audition script that I ripped up.

                  I didn’t let the defeat stop me, though. Because of you, I started to do Community Theater. I learned the ins and outs of a play. I learned what the words “blocking” and “cheat” meant to the theater community. I took acting lessons. I learned stage directions, I learned how to project my voice, and even more, I learned that I was made to perform.

                  The next year I was at a new school. A whole new panel of directors sat in front of me as I auditioned. I knew that they were waiting to reject me, just like you did. I was too afraid to be rejected again, I didn’t want to audition. So, I made a deal with my mom that I would audition for this play and if I didn’t make this one, I wouldn’t have to ever try out for another play. I got up on the stage and shook uncontrollably and gave what was probably an awful audition.

I can remember walking up to the cast list a few days later, having prepared myself for defeat, when a friend said, “Look! Here is your name!” I still get excited when I think of that moment. To my junior high directors, I thank you, too. Without you, I never would have been in another play.

I had a minor part that year. The next year, I got to bring my dream to life by performing in High School Musical 2 as Taylor. Not Sharpay, but I would take a leading role that I had actually earned. The rest of my high school career I made plays and a lot of main parts.

My sophomore year of college, I signed up to take a children’s theater class. Even though I knew I would get a part, the nerves hit me like a brick as I got up to audition. I felt like the shaky, inexperienced sixth grader again.  I really wanted the lead of the play. I didn’t get it. I got the part of a minor character, which I could work with. A few weeks in and my professors called me. They were switching my role. I would now be the main character of the play. This was the very first time that I ever had the actual lead in a play. I was ecstatic. All of these years of working and perfecting my craft and I finally had the opportunity to show it off. To my professors who saw the light in me, thank you.

I have chosen a career path where I will have to audition time and time again for anchoring/reporting positions. This semester I decided to audition last minute to be an anchor for my school’s TV station. Once again, I told myself, “You’re not going to get it. There’s no way.” I auditioned and was as nervous as could be. I waited anxiously for the email to say, “Sorry, you were not selected this semester. Try again next time.” But the email never came. I was lucky enough to get the position of a desk anchor and I was so excited. Once again, I want to thank the student leaders who took a chance on me. Every Thursday broadcast I feel so excited to be on the air and to continue to practice for my future career.

So you see, I have thanked a lot of people throughout this letter. Not just you, my middle school play directors. However, you really deserve the most praise. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t know what rejection felt like. I wouldn’t know how much harder I have to work for something that I really truly want. And I wouldn’t know that practice makes progress. I wouldn’t practice scripts over and over again or memorize lines. I wouldn’t know how much I truly love performing and that I wanted to go into a career that would include a type of performing every single day. So although I may still have hurt feelings when I think of seeing my friends perform in those middle school plays and having to watch them from the audience, I am overwhelmed with joy. If it weren’t for that initial rejection, I never would have made it this far. And for that, I thank you so very much.

 

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