The Thespian Thoughts blog posts are meant to be a college student’s point of view on various topics in the world of theater to educate all on what encompasses this particular area of the arts.
Often in theater you hear this expression:
“There are no small parts, only small actors”.
While that phrase does become quite condescending with repetition, the initial sentiment behind it is true. In theater, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts it’s made of, but were the whole to be missing even one of those parts, it wouldn’t be the same.
This is the true beauty of theater, it is a fleeting moment and each production is unique. No other production of a show will ever be the same as the set group of specific people you are watching performing in the set specific staging they all learned, in that set and specific location.
I myself have never gotten cast in a leading role. But that does not mean that the parts I have played were not fun, challenging, or meaningful. So today on the blog, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the rolls I have gotten to perform in my theatrical career.
Ensemble: The majority of my theater experience has been as a member of the ensemble. Whether it was the children’s choir of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at my local community theater (yes, I still can name all the colors), or the chorus of various middle and high school productions like Anything Goes, Grease, Hairspray and Little Shop of Horrors, I would always put in as much effort as possible because the ensemble is just as big a part of the show as the leads. There tends to be a stigma that the actors in the chorus are lesser to the leads, but that it not the case. The leads and chorus work in tandem to make the entirety of the show entertaining and to tell this story. Think how different a show would be if it didn’t have the character with the smallest speaking roll. Even if it was one line in one scene, the whole show would be changed and most likely not for the better. Aside from this, being a part of the ensemble is also an incredible bonding experience for actors in the cast as you work in close quarters and get to know each other. This is when your castmates become like a family, or like a big group project where everyone gets along and is doing their individual best to create a flawless final product. Being in the ensemble is an incredibly rewarding experience that should not be scoffed at.
Tom Snout The Tinker: In my high school’s production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I was cast as Tom Snout the Tinker, a character in the Mechanicals portion of the cast. It was my first time performing Shakespeare and it was a challenging experience to first learn the words, examine their meaning, and them speak them conversationally in a way that sounded natural. I even had a monologue when the show becomes a play within a play where my fellow mechanicals and I were meant to be purposefully bad actors. This character was special to play despite its size because of the challenge and the comedic elements within it.
The Moon: In my senior year of high school, we did The Addams Family musical. As well as being in the ensemble, I had a special featured part that was created by our director and choreographer. In the show, there is a subplot that Uncle Fester is in love with the moon. Usually the moon is portrayed with light and/or puppets, but in our production, our director decided to make it a person, and that person was me! I got to wear a gorgeous glittery gold robe over a silver smock rigged to appear as a dress. I also had a crescent moon accessory in my hair. I did an adorable waltz with our actor playing Fester and it was just overall a great number in the show that would not have existed without our director’s vision. It was also nice to have the nice featured moment in my very last high school show before I graduated and because of that, it will always have a place in my heart.
Magenta: Moving on to college, here at UMF every spring there is a shadow cast production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My freshman year I was an M.C., but last year I was lucky enough to be cast as Magenta, the domestic character originally portrayed by Patricia Quinn. This was the first time I ever got the role I walked into the audition wanting. Until then, my time in theater was full of unrequited castings, but this time I had done my very best as I always do and actually earned the part I wanted, and for that I am proud of myself. Being Magenta was also a big deal because I don’t think past me would ever have had the confidence to even audition for Rocky Horror much less play a major character due to the show’s risque content. Being cast in that role and embodying her character showed me how much I have grown as a person since leaving high school.
Thanks for joining me on this stroll down memory lane. All of these roles were such highlights in my life and I can’t wait to see who I get to play next!