Just driving by the Hawkinsville Opera House hits me hard with sweet nostalgia. Whether attending events or participating in them, The Opera House provided me with something I will always cherish: a genuine love for the arts. Backstage or stage center, putting on a show was one of the most fulfilling activities of my entire life. Hearing the audience laugh during a funny part of The Music Man or give a standing ovation after a great show gave me (the girl with one line in the entire show) a sincere feeling of accomplishment. Even a small part was important because a town scene could only be perceived as so with multiple bodies. Each one doing its own job. You wipe windows. You hold a basket. You talk to your friend like you’re gossiping. All the pieces came together. The curtains went up and down when they should. The lighting crew knew exactly when Ms. Marion would be walking out. Beautiful sets were built and positioned appropriately. It was a well-oiled machine. Not one person wasn’t important for its success.
In my current field of nursing, I must humbly admit that I am excellent at time management and teamwork. While parenting might have had a little to do with it, I think being a part of events requiring teamwork at such a young age contributed also. How often do children and adults work together to produce something? With many different ages and a stern director, I learned that others depended on me just as I depended on them to make the show incredible. In small and large parts alike, I learned that memorizing my lines not only was important to avoid my own embarrassment, but that I represented the entire production. I learned to speak loudly, clearly and confidently to an audience. I learned how to accept constructive criticism and apply it. I cannot emphasize enough how much of an impact the arts had on my character.
Since I’ve had my son, who is one and a half, things I want for him have come to light. I want so badly for Jack to have the same experiences with The Opera House as I did. As parents know, when you have a child, you are suddenly interested in the livelihood of all children in your community. I want the children of our community to have the same wonderful opportunities I did. I want them to work hard for the part they want, and learn to accept the possibility that won’t always get it the first time. I want them to feel important like I did and to learn that even characters without lines are vital.
I have asked the board for permission to direct a play next year at The Opera House. They had originally approved us to do The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a humorous play that I had been involved with when I was younger. Without time to really prepare, we have decided to post-pone it until next year. We would like to be able to have sample scripts for people to review before auditions, and we just didn’t come up with the idea in time this year. We are waiting because we need time to get the word out. We need community involvement to really bring back the wonderful plays that The Opera House has brought to us in the past. We need more than just actors. We need people to help behind the scenes as well. We need parents who will help their children practice their lines and children who want to learn them. We need adults who want to act. We need stage crews. Currently, I am looking into a play to do sometime in the spring of 2016. The moment I find it, we will announce dates for auditions and provide sample scripts so that actors can be prepared and confident. I hope you will be there to help me bring back our childhood at The Hawkinsville Opera House. With your help, it will be truly incredible.