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The First Time Ever I Cast A Play...

I directed my first play when I was 18. It was mostly an accident. Well, a "God-ordained accident", I guess you could say.

I was in Advanced Theatre 4. I think my high school gave it that name when I wouldn't stop taking drama classes-- because if you looked at the class schedules, you would see the highest level of drama was "Theatre 2".

High school theatre can be quite the mess. There are usually many students in high school theatre classes for the mere fact that they think it's an easy A. I know this because I spent four years watching their shocked reactions when they were called to speak in front of the class. Well, I had some of these people in my "Advanced Theatre 4" class. And I will tell you, NOTHING frustrates an eager-takes-too-many-theatre-classes-over-achiever like people that do not care about theatre! I was a little much...

Moving on.

My drama teacher, Mrs. Bush, picked our spring play and was telling us that we would be reading it in class the next day. I was ECSTATIC. This is basically my reaction at that moment:

Like I said, I was a little much...

Well, once I got quiet again and Mrs. Bush could keep talking, she proceeded to let us know that she would be absent for the script read-through. She told us that it would be up to us to pick a part for read through.

MY INNER THOUGHTS: (gasp)... (loss of breath)... (loss of hearing)... (loss of sight)... Rules... Order... Structure... How would we ever get on...? How could she desert us on such an important day. How could she leave mere drama students in charge of something so extraordinary...?

I was a wreck by the time I got to class the next day. Everyone could see it. They felt sorry for me. I cared. Too much.

My sweet friend piped up: "We should let Heather cast the roles. I bet she'd be great at it." I'd like to say the class roared with approval and applause. But they didn't. There were a few groans, maybe a full blown murmur.... I know I got hit in the head with a pencil. But I stood. Like a WARRIOR. "I'll cast this play!" I said. "I'll cast it so hard..." Crickets. A pause. "Too far, Heather".... I sat back down and start casting. And birds sang. Flowers bloomed. Probably. It was glorious.

The next day when Mrs. Bush returned, she was pleasantly surprised to see how good of a job I did casting. She said that unless anyone had objections, those would be our roles. I was shocked. Me. I cast a play. A whole play. By myself. I could do things! Good things. I could probably change the world someday....

Mrs. Bush then asked me if I'd like to direct this play. "Student direct, of course" she said. At least I think that's what she said. I was busy picking myself up off the floor. I'm pretty sure that time I heard like THREE murmurs! The crowd was ecstatic. I could barely contain myself. Directing my first play!

Well, it ended up that Mrs. Bush had an extremely heavy schedule that spring. She rarely came to rehearsals and when she did, it was usually just to make sure we weren't out getting her fired.

So, that's how I ended up directing my first play. It was one of those things that you didn't know how much it was a part of you until you did it... you know? When it ended you thought: "How did I make it this far in my life without it...?" The moment the curtains closed on our cast's production, I knew. This is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It was IN me. I was bitten by the theatre bug. And it may have been poisonous. Because after 24 years, I still can't go a day, an HOUR without thinking about theatre.

I hope you have something like that in your life. Something that you can't go even an hour without. And if so..? That's "your thing". Go do it. Go "do it good". And change the world!



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