Home is Where the Heart Is by: Sarah Verespej

Written by: Sarah Verespej

Stray sawdust, specks of glitter, a jungle of curtains, lights and pulleys tangled above, a familiar G major chord mingling with the ceaseless creativity accumulating in the Black Box down the hall, and surrounded by it all, in the center of the stage, is me. Since my first 14-year-old-freshman footstep crossed the threshold of our high school auditorium I have been whisked away into a world that is entirely its own. Never to return. Each show an alignment of parallel universes that slowly gather, peak at the crest of a mountain top, and then avalanche all at once. Every seat, every aisle, every curtain, every beautifully blinding spotlight, every moment on that stage, has been a sanctum to cherish my best days and make my worst days as bearable as possible. Surrounding myself with miraculous people doing miraculous things, it is there, in that theatre, that I find myself in complete solace.

The chattering of the freshmen in the Black Box is distinct and comforting. The sophomores emit shrieks of laughter in utter excitement. And the upperclassmen oversee it all with melancholy conversation and corny jokes. It is in the positivity and thoughtfulness of this sacred temple of creativity that I have made my closest friends and built timeless relationships.

Center stage is where I have always been the most comfortable. Whether belting a high C, dancing an intense combination, or performing a dramatic monologue, I have acquired an extraordinary passion for performance. If I could spend the rest of my time on this earth in one place, I would not hesitate to choose the theatre. The ability to escape the hardships of the world outside and become a character, or simply sit in silence in the topmost seats of the house and bask in this perfection, is a safe haven that without I could not have gotten through highschool.

Theatre is an art form unlike any other. Instead of being framed and hung on a wall, or recorded in a sound booth when it is completed, it is destroyed. Looking back on my first strike, it was a heart-wrenching experience, wishing to never let go of that show. Granted, the conclusions of shows now are no less poignant than the first, but are far more endurable. Withstanding large transformations in short periods of time has taught me to accept change and has allowed me to possess an inner peace that I would not have acquired had I not spent such a great amount of time in that auditorium. Having this ability to forgive, forget, and move on has resulted in an incomparable sense of happiness.

The creation and destruction of a theatrical production is an experience of great reward, innovation and knowledge; requiring both hard work and teamwork. As someone who has been a part of theatre for eight years, even I am unable to fathom the amount of  blood, sweat, and tears that are shed rehearsing to perfection. Even I cannot comprehend the unbreakable bonds I have formed with these artists. Even I am incapable of understanding just how much I’ve truly learned about love and life while performing in these shows. All I know is that it’s been transformative. And it all happened here: in the theatre, a place easily synonymous with sanctuary and heaven. There: I am calm. There: I am joyful. There: I am home.

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