Memories: Being a ham

Today’s going to be just another light glimpse into my past.  I hope you enjoy the lightness of it all, dear readers.

Growing up, I enjoyed acting.  I was in just about every production my Sunday school or church production did, mostly Easter and Christmas pageants.  When  I made it to high school, I was excited to join drama club.

I wouldn’t say that I was ever Hollywood material.  Certainly not Broadway material.  However, I felt I did well enough, especially for my little corner of rural Pennsylvania.  I remember when i was in eighth or ninth grade and the drama club was planning on doing a fun little play called “Agatha Christie Made Me Do It.”  (See synopsis here.)  We were sitting through try-outs and the role of Waldo the butler was still up for grabs.  One of the upperclassmen suggested that maybe I should try out for the part.  The club adviser — who also acted as the director — said she just couldn’t see me in the part and couldn’t imagine me doing it.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love a good challenge.  So I snatched a copy of the script, found a scene in which Waldo played a prominent part, strolled onto the stage, and gave my audition.  I got the part instantly.  In fact, by the second week of rehearsals, our adviser had taken back her original assessment, but admitted that I played the part so convincingly that she half expected a British accent to start rolling off my tongue every time I took the stage.  (Alas, I wasn’t that good of an actor.)

We never made it to show-time, unfortunately.  Due to various issues, the production got canceled.  It’s a shame too, as I think that was my best role ever.  Though I did go on to take a speaking part in a musical a couple years later, which gave myself and all my classmates the chance to discover that I do an amazingly good imitation of Fred Rogers.  (“You know what?  You’re a wonderful person.  There’s no one else in this whole world just like you.  You’re special.  Very, very special.”)  Then where was the year that our new drama advisor proved how quickly I could pick up a part when she approached me a week before showtime because one of her actors had become ill and there was no understudy.  (The original actor recovered in time to play the role.)

After high school, I quit acting.  When I went to college, things changed.  We had a drama department, and most of the drama majors fought over the parts — and were incredible actors by virtue of the fact that they were actually going to school for it.  I figured that a simple computer science major who just used to do high school and church stuff was no match in that competition.  Some part of me wishes I had tried just once though, just to see what would’ve happened.

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