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"language was not powerful enough to describe the infant phenomenon"

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This is my drama family. I have known this amazing bunch of people for over six years, and, honestly I cannot imagine my life without any of them.

When I first joined the Christus Homines Drama Troupe I was a little eleven-year-old who had barely ever left the house. But they had announced that they were performing Little Women, one of my favorite stories, so of course I had to join! I remember that first year well. I didn't know anyone, and my sister and I stuck together like glue for every rehearsal. The only time I would really say anything was when I had to recite one of my seven little lines.
I have stuck with drama ever since, and have been a part of many, many, many plays.
A Tale of Two Cities, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice, and The Mouse that Roared.
Every year I have been faced with new challenges, like the year I discovered I shouldn't ever do makeup crew... just no, or the year when I could not get my insane laughter down as the March Hare. Every year I'm stretched and pushed outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes it's difficult, but it is always worth it.

This year, as Ninetta Crummles in Nicholas Nickleby, I had a whole new set of challenges. Ninetta, or The Infant Phenomenon, as she is so affectionately known as by everyone who knows her, is one of Charles Dicken's most strangest and under-rated characters (for those who don't know the story, she is basically a grown up baby). I was honestly confused when I had learned I was cast to play her.

I am not weird, at least not in that way. I have trouble portraying very obscure characters. I just can't get out of my shell enough to actually do the strange characters justice.
Each rehearsal I would have to prance around our makeshift stage area, stare at people awkwardly, skip, giggle, spin, and do all sorts of weird, abnormal things that I would never do otherwise.
When I was at home I would read through the book, underlining and highlighting the parts with Ninetta, trying to get a sense of who Dickens meant her to be. And eventually, I started to understand her. It clicked, in a way, and by tech week I could do it all without feeling embarrassed.

That's what I love so, so, so much about drama, learning how to understand and portray a character who is not like you in the least. I have learned so much about myself from playing these little characters . The theater is deep in my heart. I don't think I will ever stop acting, even after I graduate from the drama troupe, I will always take whatever chance I get to be on the stage.

12 comments

  1. These are reasons why I love drama too; you get to be someone else and it's amazing. I also love my theatre family; I used to be like you when you first started: shy, a little scared. When I wasn't called to rehearse a scene I would be working on my homework. But when one of my now theatre friends said to me for the first time, "We'll sacrifice Knight #2 if Morgana is mad at us," I began to open up. And I kind of like the aspect of myself now that theatre has shaped me into.

    xoxo Morning

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  2. This is so cool. I don't do very much drama...and I'm not super good at it, but I love that feeling of trying to step into someone else's shoes. It's kind of freeing, I guess...like for a little bit, you get to just act and be without thinking about the consequences or having to be responsible for your actions.
    Also, your writing is so poignant and sweet and timeless, I love it forever amen.

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    1. You should totally try and act more, I bet you'd be absolutely amazing on stage!
      And thank you so much for your sweet comment, it made my day :)

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  3. This is so wonderful! Drama is one of my favorite things. Great post, and great thoughts. ♥

    xoxo

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  4. This is so awesome, Hannah. I've only ever seen the movie of Nicholas Nickleby, but I think it's such a great story - it's so cool that you got to be a part of it!

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    1. It was extremely fun! :) I didn't know the story at all before the play, but now I think it could be my absolute favorite Dickens. Which is surprising, since I thought nothing could beat Great Expectations.

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  5. Plays are absolutely incredible, and being apart of them is even more so. I've never been in a play, but I've done plenty of musicals (even scoring leads), and it has been the most humbling, amazing experience. The bonds that you form with your fellow cast members are simply magical.

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  6. I read for you at a rehearsal you missed, and I can personally vouch that the Infant Phenomenon is the most perplexing characters I've ever encountered. But you did a fantastic job in your portrayal of her! Drama would not have been the same without you.
    ~Sarah Faulkner

    Inklined

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    1. Awww thank you, Sarah! Ditto :) I'm gonna miss you so much next year!

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