I decided to “go big” and participate in my school’s annual musical, “Bye Bye Birdie,” my senior year. I saw last year’s musical and thought it looked fun.
“Bye Bye Birdie” is the story of an Elvis-type figure, Conrad Birdie, who goes to Sweet Apple, Ohio, to give Birdie-obsessed Kim MacAfee “One Last Kiss” as a publicity stunt before he goes off to war.
While I am in choir, I had no former acting (unless you include my elementary days) or dancing experience. I was nervous for auditions; however, I surprised myself when I scored a respectable role. My job was to scream at the top of my lungs every time I saw Conrad while sporting a bright pink poodle skirt … what more could a girl ask for?
Rehearsals entailed devoting anywhere from two to six hours after school from the first day of school in September. It was a huge commitment, and at times was frustrating and stressful; working with a cast of 50 is not easy. For weeks, we rehearsed dance numbers, songs and stage blocking. Opening week (“Tech Week”) was when we moved rehearsal to our actual performing facility, the Northshore Performing Arts Center. It was during this week that I grew very close to the cast and backstage technicians — or “techies.”
The musical received a great response and is the highest attended school performance in Inglemoor history. I am so glad I decided to participate, despite my doubts earlier in the year. I have a newfound appreciation for all the work that must be put into the musical. Our school’s tech theater class constructed our stage set, which looked like different stacks of records. Backstage technicians were in charge of moving props on and off stage and making sure scenes had the right backdrops.
Now that the musical is over, I feel as if I don’t know what to do with myself. It feels strange to go home right after school and I don’t know what to do with my extra free time. Maybe now I can relax a little … ha, how naïve of me. Now I can work on the things I used the musical as an excuse not to do, like my huge extended history project, my college applications and working out.
Elsa Watland is an Inglemoor High senior.