I've always liked theater. My friends and I worked out that I've seen twenty live shows while in high school. That never seems like much, but the other day I cleaned out my car and found just as many playbills as movie tickets. Writing books helped me appreciate the written word better. Participating in Thoroughly Modern Millie did the same thing. Now that I've painted set pieces, fixed torn costumes, and drilled through the same dance steps a thousand times, I know I'll understand the time and effort that went into everything next time I watch a show.
2. How to be helpful
I love the backstage camaraderie. A girl can walk in and shout, "I need blush! Who has a straightener? Someone shove this mike down my bra!" and three people will rush forward to help her. I like helping people. I've loaned pearl earrings, applied makeup, buckled shoes, and zipped up costumes for girls I don't even know. Is this what it's like to have sisters?
3. Time management
Last year, I thought I was too busy to do the musical. Because, you know, homework. I did have more homework then than I do now. But last year I wasn't juggling eight school clubs and applying for college. The more I do, the more I can fit in. I filled out an entire application while waiting for the leads to finish so our group could get some practice time in.
4. When to stop
Some of the girls were put in a different dressing room than the rest of the cast due to crowding issues. This room was actually a storage room/computer lab/choir practice place, so it didn't have a mirror. Our director made an offhand comment about how it would be helpful if any of us brought in little mirrors from home.
I have a full length mirror in my bedroom. Nobody asked me to bring it, and it probably wouldn't fit in my trunk, but surely I could shove it into the backseat. So at 10:30 P.M., I hauled it down from my room, propped open the door, and collapsed the front seat. I experimented with different angles, but I couldn't get it to go in.
Then I heard the crack. A long line ran up one side of the stand.When I pulled it out for closer inspection, the entire left half of the stand fell off. Well, now it fit in the trunk. I tossed in the broken pieces, laid out the rest of the mirror on my driveway, and unscrewed the other half of the stand.
I stopped. What was I doing here, kneeling on cold concrete in my torn nylons when I should've been getting ready for bed? Why was I here? Because I hoped the other girls would praise me for loaning them a mirror? Because I wanted to walk into the dressing room, shout, "Someone help me haul my mirror across the parking lot!" and get an answer?
Since I was already halfway there, I ended up taking the mirror. But this is the last time I go out of my way to help people just so I feel helpful.