The lessons learned onstage from Glenwood Springs student actor
If you go
Crazy For You
Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Glenwood Springs High School presents the romantic comedy “Crazy for You,” a George and Ira Gershwin musical. It’s the story of New York banker Bobby Child, who travels to Nevada to shutter a theater and falls for the theater owner’s daughter. Continues March 2-3, 7 p.m., and March 3, 2 p.m.
Jeannie Miller Auditorium at Glenwood Springs High School, 1521 Grand Ave. | $15 adults, $10 children, students and all matinee seats | glenwoodhigh.eventbee.com
“All the world’s a stage, all the men and women merely players.”
That’s one of Shakespeare’s more recognizable quotes and an idea that I seem to have taken on as my mantra. It almost feels as though most of my formative years have been spent on stage. One could say I have been raised by the stage.
The first role I took when I was merely 6 was portraying Kurt von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” with Jayne Gottlieb Productions, a local children’s theatre. Since then I have participated in more than 20 shows, culminating this spring in Glenwood Springs High School’s production of “Crazy for You.”
Throughout my life and particularly in high school, the stage has been my only constant. I’ve been masked behind someone else’s face, bathed in light, knowing almost exactly what will happen next. This lack of disarray is where I find my solace, hidden away from the variable and unpredictable world.
When acting, every hint of any insecurities vanish. When I take on a character, that person and I mold together. No matter how much I try to keep the character and my true personality apart, small parts of them always slip in. Perhaps it’s the way that Gomez Addams holds his hands, or a particular tick in the speech pattern of a Russian boy just trying to get through life. With each show, I feel an emotional connection to the character. They grow in my mind from the seed of a personality into a full-blown conscious, thinking being.
Strangely enough, I rarely remember any personal details from performances. The character that I have incubated for the entire rehearsal process comes out and takes over in every show. Once I embody the character, I am that character. When a show closes, what follows is an emptiness similar to that of heartbreak or loss. I believe this to be the character saying goodbye.
This year is my final high school show. Looking back on the past four years, the journey was long and far from easy. Many new experiences came my way from performing in my first full-blown Shakespeare production to participating in my first professional production, both with Hudson Reed Ensemble in Aspen.
From the time that I was a freshman to now as a senior, I have met so many important people who have taught so much. For one, Glenwood Springs High School drama teacher Kate McRaith has taught me many lessons through acting, production and performance. I have her to thank for bringing me to Glenwood Springs High School and teaching me most of what I know about theater in general.
“Crazy for You” is one of my favorite productions I’ve been part of, but the beginning of the show’s run means the end of my high school theater career. It’s bittersweet, a transition from one part of my life to the next.
Eli Pettet is a senior at Glenwood Springs High School.