PEOPLE+ | The story of a high school theatre actor

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Hello there! I’ve been asked to write an article about myself. I have to say, I really can’t determine what kind of a person I am. I am still trying to find out who I truly am and what kind of things I represent. I’ve had quite the few attempts at trying to find out where I belong, but to no avail. I’m still searching though! Anyways, here is one experience I had that I will forever remember.

So, a year ago I performed in a school play. But, to me, this wasn’t any ordinary play. It will always hold a special place in my heart for a reason. Here’s why:

It was sophomore year of high school. A really bizarre year for me, but I won’t get into that. I was really feeling down: no one noticed me, I felt socially excluded from everyone. In a few words, life wasn’t going well. I thought “I need to do something in order to at least improve my mood a bit”. I didn’t know what I wanted to do though, until I found out that a high school theatre play was going to be taking place. I wondered to myself if I should participate in it, due to the fact that it was in English, which was a large plus for me. It was based on a short tale in a Harry Potter book (don’t remember which one it was). There were no auditions or anything: the purpose of the play was just to get students involved in some activity. There was a large selection of roles, but the ones I was particularly interested in, were the roles of three brothers. Antioch, who had a really aggressive personality, wanted to get his revenge on a duelist that had defeated him. Cadmus, who was really sad, had been mourning for his dead wife. And finally, Ignotus, who was the youngest, yet the smartest out of all of them, wanted to aid them in their struggles. I quickly wrote off to play Ignotus, and was struggling to decide between Antioch and Cadmus, due to both of them representing anger and sadness respectively and both being unique in their own rights. I chose to play Cadmus in the end because I thought he would be more fitting of me. Since I had quite the depressed state of mind, I thought it would be easy for me to portray a sad person. And I actually did a pretty good job at it! The first few rehearsals proved to be quite difficult though.

However, after a while I thought I could do better. My performances were already good, but something really alluded me to believe that I could have a more fitting role for me to play on stage. Something just wasn’t satisfying me to play Cadmus. I looked at my script and read Antioch’s lines. An idea came to my head as to I can portray him on stage. Since he was an angry character, I thought it would be fitting if I were to scream every single sentence of his. There was a problem though: the role was already taken. I was feeling really gutted. I could have chosen that role at the start and be perfectly fine with it, but I had realized just then how that role fitted me much better. I got really lucky though.

It was once again rehearsal day. I was just sitting there, waiting for the director to put a start to the practicing, when I noticed that the guy who was playing Antioch’s role was missing. Whenever someone was missing to play his role in the rehearsals, the director would take someone else to fill in for him. I saw that as an opportunity. An opportunity to show the director why that role was more fitting of me. I went up to him and asked him if I could fill in for Antioch. There was one thing I didn’t realize until I asked him the question: Cadmus (which was my role) and Antioch were in the same scenes. The director reminded me of that, but I begged him to play that role. He eventually agreed. I was relieved that finally I would get the chance to perform this role in front of someone. I did my performance, and, to my surprise, I got a standing ovation! There was still one obstacle I had to go through though. I had to ask him whether I could take the role permanently. I was skeptical as to whether it was going to happen, but at the same time confident, since the other guy that was playing the role was really poor. He did not seem motivated to play the role at all, and besides that his performances lacked emotion. I was really keen on getting that role though. So, I popped the director the question. The response wasn’t necessarily the one I was hoping I would receive. He told me it would be way difficult to switch roles and that he’d have to talk to the other actor. At first, he said no and I had completely lost hope, but a week later he approached me and asked me if I really wanted that role, with me giving the most enthusiastic yes ever. It was back on!

After I had received the role I truly desired, rehearsals were the most fun thing ever. Day after day I was filled with more and more satisfaction each time I performed. My confidence levels went up so high and I had become so excited for this play. Then, the day finally came. The play premieres.

We were scheduled to have three performances. The first one was going to be in front of kids and teachers from middle schools, the second one was going to be in front of people from our school, and the third one was going to be in front of adults. I was particularly excited for the second one, since I wanted to make a very good impression on the people around my school. I was a bit anxious for the first one though. I had been in a bit of an uncomfortable situation at the time: I had to have some kind of school test/survey on the day of our first performance, which was also actually mandatory. The play had to start at around 1 PM, which meant I had only 30 minutes in between the test and the performance. A bit shocking, since I had to have rehearsals on the day of the play, which I missed. Anyways, I got to the theatre as fast as I could, and I started to get really nervous. I immediately put my theatre clothes: a light green robe with a glued beard to my face. There was a problem though: the beard kept falling off. But when I realized that, it was already too soon.

And so, it was time for my first performance. I was sitting backstage, right as the audience began to enter the building. A worrying thought instantly entered my mind: during the first few scenes the crowd did not stop talking and were constantly laughing, but what can you expect: they were kids from middle school. At that time however, I was fearing that I wouldn’t be taken seriously. And then came time for me to enter the stage.

Just as I expected, the crowd didn’t take me seriously. It was really upsetting, but the worst was yet to come. Right when I was performing in my final scene, my “beard” kept falling off. I had gotten to a decisive point in my play, and my beard fell off again! I told myself, screw it, and took the entire thing off. I finished my scene and headed backstage. People congratulated me and all, but I was worried how the director had reacted to me taking off my “beard”. The play ended, and it was time for us to receive our verdict. He congratulated us, but he also told me something I did not expect to hear. He told me he admired me for taking it off, and not trying to stick it back on. I was really surprised, as I had thought what I did was completely embarrassing. Anyways, there was no time to think through things because the day that followed was much more important.

A big day was upon me. My two final performances were in front of me. I was much more excited for this one as I knew the audience members would actually be respectful towards the play. I had the most jitters I think I have ever had. It was a heavily anticipated moment for me: I had rehearsed so much for this play, every time with such excitement and joy that I will get the opportunity to play this role in front of people, and here I was. Hours before the play, ready and excited. I had my rehearsal as usual, and then went home for a quick calm before the storm. I returned to the theatre, and it was time for the play. We were performing in front of the people from my high school, and this was the most important performance for me of all 3. I put on my robe and beard (which was intact this time thankfully), went backstage and waited. The play finally began.

At this point I had become heavily nervous. Sitting there, just waiting for your scene to come, it was not nice one bit. But I had to go through it. And I did.

I went out there and had the most fun I have ever had. Screaming like a maniac, I felt like I was in my element on the stage.

I finished my performance and returned to backstage. I was extremely relieved and proud of myself for what I had done. Never ever did I think that I, an extremely shy person, would be in a theatre on a stage, screaming as loud as I can with such confidence. And here I was, throat hurting and all, feeling absolutely ecstatic. The play ended, the cast went up on stage, and we got a standing ovation. People began to congratulate me here and there, some even said I was the best actor on stage! Anyways, I had my rest for a few hours, I returned to the theatre, and it was time for my 3rd and final play. I was really calm at this point, I did what I had to do without any doubt in myself. My parents were in attendance, which was amazing. I played my role, finished the play, and got a standing ovation. What happened next was heartwarming: my parents were waiting for me outside the theatre to congratulate me. They hugged me, said how much they were proud of me and all of that stuff. I went home, happy that I went through this day successfully, and happy that, after everything I went through, I would have this play as a wonderful memory in my head that I will never forget.

Here is the aforementioned play divided into two parts

(My scene begins at 37:19 in the first part, two other actors begin it but I enter not long after)

Life can be full of amazing moments and opportunities. The special thing about them is that they could come when you least expect them. That’s what’s amazing about it: one day you may be feeling really down, and tomorrow you may feel like the happiest person in the world. I sincerely never thought this would happen to me, and at the end of the day, it did. My message to everyone is this: be patient. Don’t feel like your life is just going to stay miserable every single day. Trust me, it changes. You just have to be there to witness it. Besides, life wouldn’t be as fun if it had only good moments. Sometimes we have to go through bad moments so that we mature more as people and strengthen our characters. But, at the end of the day, it will all be worth it, because life is one large adventurous story, with a happy ending.


by Ivan-Aleksandar Terziev

Participant in

YE "Make social inclusion happen" in Costinesti, Romania