The night that I’ve dreaded since the beginning of the year has finally come and gone. Senior showcase.
I’ve now witnessed two equally painful showcases, this one hitting my heart the hardest. It was a night of nostalgia, anxiety, and laughs. It was a few shared moments on stage, the last few, with the people I love the most.
At the beginning of the day we were given the roster. “Don’t Be The Bunny” from Urinetown– performed by Esteban, Camryn, Anahid, Raquel, Paige, Joy and I -would be first, a director’s pick.
Then, a beautiful monologue performed by Joy titled American Soldiers, followed by a thunderous revival of “Under Pressure” from We Will Rock You by Raquel and Esteban.
The next two performances would then be a beautiful monologue titled A Fortune In Men’s Eyes, performed by Chloe, a scene from Little Dog Laughed performed by Joy, Michael, and Anahid.
The showcase was then to be closed by another director’s pick, “The I Love You Song” from 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, performed by Camryn, Michael, and myself.
The seniors’ performances were incredible, and with four days to work on it, we did pretty well with the song.
The lights went out, and then back on for the four seniors who had performed to take their final bows with the Little Theatre. Looking at them, my eyes teared at how beautifully glowing each of their faces were, because they had done so well.
At the beginning of the day, I hadn’t promised myself that I wouldn’t cry, because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep it, but I thought that maybe I would wait until the senior speeches.
All Chloe had to do was look at me after her bows, and I exploded into a pile of sobs.
She ran up to hug me and it made me cry harder. We hugged for a bit, teetering into the green room, where everyone was heading to hear the director’s final speech to the departing Drama Geeks.
The director finished his speech, leaving the seniors in tears, and cueing Anahid to give her speech. Before she did, we all shuffled onto the stage, because holding the speeches anywhere else would be wrong.
The seniors sat in the front four seats of the house, and when each were cued, they moved to stand or sit in the stage to address us underclassmen and the director.
The director placed their speeches in order of Anahid, Joy, Esteban, and Chloe. I weeped for each of them, but once Chloe stood up and sat on the edge of the stage, I began to sob.
Chloe spoke of how much she’d bloomed because of all that she’s learned in the little theatre. About how when she first arrived, she had been a shy young thing, but soon bloomed into the loud young mom, who we all love so dearly. But what she emphasized most of all was how much she would miss seeing our faces everyday. The thought of not seeing her every day hit my heart hard.
So I sobbed. I sobbed because I was scared. I sobbed because I felt lonely. I sobbed because these people that lit up my day, taught me so much, and loved me like family, were leaving.
They would never again be cast beside me on stage, they would never come in and sit down to release a bad day by belting a song or playing uno until we felt better again.
Even the little things were over now. Pre-show jitters, laughing at mistakes during rehearsals, encouraging and reassuring each other during a performance, filling Denny’s with noise on closing night. All of those were done now.
Those things had come and passed, but they are things that nobody can ever take away from me.
Nobody can take away the “you got this” speeches I got from Esteban or the stupid jokes I always shared with Anahid.
Not a single moment of laughter with Joy or the pure happiness in the many scenes, games, and songs with Chloe can ever be stolen from my heart.
So, although I’m sad to see them go, I am even more excited to see what they become.
They’re not trapped anymore. No one can tell them what they can or can’t become. They can be whatever they want to be and do whatever they want to do. And though I know that these beautiful, wondrous, delightful souls are absolutely terrified about what’s going to happen now, I have not a single doubt in my mind that whatever they decide they want to do, they will be absolutely amazing at it.
Because that’s all they have ever showed me they could be.
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