That Magical Moment Before The Show Starts

It was the fall of 2004, and I was sitting in the theatre at my high school — my theatre, my second home. For the first time in a very long time, I was sitting in the house — in the audience. It was the teaser for Nickel and Dimed, and we were doing something a little different, which meant that most of the cast wasn’t performing. Darkness was all around, and then a light shone on my friend, sitting high up on the scaffolding with a guitar. My friend began to sing David Gray’s “Silver Lining,” and it felt like magic. There was something so perfect about the moment that it gave me shivers. It just hit me that that was what the audience saw, heard, and felt. And it just meant all the more to me because it wasn’t merely a show I might watch: it was my show and my friends.  

When I was in high school, theatre was basically the center of my life. I loved it, and I was utterly devoted to my theatre group — to my director and tech director, my friends, and our shows. I was an actor, mostly, although I had pretty strong loyalties to the crew (the techies): my theatre was special in that we generally had really tight bonds between crew and actors — particularly among the “hardcore” members (the people who were involved with every show).

In every show I was ever in, there was always this incredible moment right before the curtain went up, right before the show began — this breathless anticipation, this moment of amazing potential and possibility. It was such a rush. In that moment, I felt invincible. I felt as though I was exactly where I was meant to be in the world, as though I were balancing on the edge of something indescribably wonderful, something bigger than I could explain — something that could change the world, one person at a time. It was everything. It was magic.

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