What I loved most about being a teen was Drama.
Like my character Oribella in Fairest of Them All, I spent my child- and teen-hood dreaming of being an actress. From kindergarten on, I loved to perform. Whenever a teacher asked for volunteers to read aloud, my hand shot up. Whether it was poetry, prose, or the social studies textbook, I was eager to share my reading and reciting abilities—with feeling.
Since our small high school only put on one musical and one play a year, I joined both chorus and drama club to maximize my options. My singing voice was marginal at best, but the talent pool was limited. Everyone who tried out got a part of some kind, even if it was just a walk-on. My first part came freshman year, when three of us dressed up as old ladies and did a crazy-looking walk across the stage. When the audience laughed, I was thrilled.
From then on I had speaking parts in every play and musical. In some respects I was a natural because I could easily memorize lines and my voice projected from the stage into the farthest reaches of the school gym. Most of my friends had the theater bug, too, and backstage at rehearsals was a blast. There were plenty of pranks and inside jokes—and a few stolen kisses in the prop room.
The picture above is from Sweet Anne Paige, a play we put on my senior year. I haven’t the slightest idea what it was about, but I know I had a great time! If you’re wondering, I’m the girl on the left with long, dark hair who’s holding onto the back of the chair.
By the end of senior year I knew I lacked the talent to be an actress. But I couldn’t resist taking a college class in oral interpretation where I was able read stories and poetry aloud. A few years later I became a teacher. Not as glamorous as acting, of course, but I got to perform in front of people every day.
And I had a captive audience.