I have never been a naturally graceful person. So, when I was given the roll of Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone at Natick High School, I felt a mixture of intense excitement and terror. The roll was originally played by Broadway Icon (and my idol) Sutton Foster. During the musical number "Show Off" Foster demonstrates her incredible talents with a series of splits, cartwheels and high kicks. Ow.
|Katelyn and Sutton Foster|
As a point of reference I should mention that at the beginning of the run I could not do a somersault.
I spent the next few weeks upside-down. I practiced handstands everyday. I stretched farther than ever before. And I was sore in places I didn't know existed. I fell more times than I care to admit. I was covered in bruises and yet I, to my own surprise, didn't give up. I felt the support of every member of the cast (literally and figuratively). I was held suspended in the air for the majority of the number by various members of the cast. But, in their holding me I realized that I also had there mental support.
At the beginning of the rehearsal process Nicole told me that "your body can handle so much more than you think it can". This became my mantra. I used every fall as a reason to stand back up, to try again.
And suddenly it was show time. And somehow I managed to walk out on stage. And I did cartwheels and handstands and splits. And I did not fall. No, I was not Sutton Foster and no, I would not win the Tony. But I was Katelyn and Janet and in that moment, everything was right. And I was proud. And I am not easily proud of myself. I had accomplished that which I felt was impossible.
And if course, as the future teacher that I am, I looked at what I had learned.
1. Falling hurts
2. Standing back up can be the most rewarding thing
3. With the right people holding you up, you can do anything
And yes, all of those are meant to be taken literally AND figuratively.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn through this role and to work with the amazing cast, crew and directing staff to make this crazy dream a reality.