How theatre found me


Jaira Stanley, Online/Social Media Editor

How has theatre changed my life? When my advisor came to me about this story, I was tentative. How do you write a story about something you love so much?

I looked on Pinterest for ideas of how to write about being in love; none of them truly compared to what I was trying to say.
So there I was, in my bed, trying to understand how in the world I was going to write this.
So, here I go.
Theatre. I feel like you really can’t describe what theatre is. It’s a mix of everything. To me theatre is home.
It’s late nights with your friends singing show tunes at the top of your lungs while everyone watches.     It’s waking up on a Saturday, going into a dark room and rehearsing a scene time after time.

It’s those late night Dunkin Donuts runs when a boy has broken your heart.
It’s the 4 a.m alarm clocks that make you force yourself to wake up just to refresh a page because you have to see the cast list. It’s getting a splinter in your finger and still continuing on that set piece.
It’s where I go on a bad day, and I need a little pick me up. It’s where I can be myself. My true self.

Where I can pretend like I’m someone else.
Theatre gives you this liberation you can’t find anywhere else, where you can be engulfed in set designs, monologues and light cues for weeks on end.
Coming from a public school on the south side of Chicago, my school didn’t offer the arts. There wasn’t a drama club or a choir.

The only outlet I had to perform arts was through my father. My father writes, produces and directs stage plays, and one of my earliest memories of being in love with theatre was when I was eight.
My dad would do his shows as I would sneak into the theatre and watch.

Eventually, after being caught so many times, my dad just went with it and let me watch his plays.
It wasn’t until freshman year when I saw a show, did theatre truly change my life. I was never the athletic type, I’ve tried almost every sport out there. I sucked at all of them. I tried to make friends, but who wants to be friends with the bench warmer?
I felt as if I never belonged. I just so happened to see Funk It Up About Nothing, our L.I.T.E production that year when I ran into James Rose, the director. He gave me a script and told me auditions were Tuesday.
Even talking to the kids after seeing the L.I.T.E production, I felt at home. I felt happier.
I felt something I had never felt on a field, on a court or even at home.
I found a passion, something that I thought I would never have in my life. I believe anyone who joins theatre, finds a love for it instantly.

There is a certain feeling you have when you walk onto the stage. You feel as though all of your problems magically disappear for one hour.
As John Steinbeck once said: “The theater is the only institution in the world which has been dying for four thousand years and has never succumbed. It requires tough and devoted people to keep it alive.”