I've begun all three of my college spring breaks the exact same way:
Take a shower.
Go out to eat.
Go to the Fellowship Hall.
So due to the good luck of my academic calendar, I haven't had to miss a Glenn Youth drama production in... the last fifteen, sixteen years? Seventeen maybe?
I spent six of those onstage within it all-- at first hardly believing that it was actually MY TURN to do this, FINALLY! Years of anticipating February, when we lived in the YAAB with homework and Panera bags, and inside jokes appeared out of thin air and I learned words that I will know for the rest of my life and the cheers in that room on opening night made me feel like we'd just opened on Broadway. Years watching so many of my friends, adopted siblings, take their final bows-- and then I took mine.
The years before that I spent in absolute awe of those teenagers, equal to movie stars in my little-Glenn eyes, so tall and pretty and funny and talented, and they could drive and stay out late and had such a connection to each other, and it seemed like forever until I would be one of them.
And the last three, on that other side? What have I gotten out of these years, sitting in the audience but knowing every inch of backstage and the jitters and the adrenaline? I know it and yet I'm separate from it, because though it's still so much a part of me, it's not where I am anymore-- which is good and natural. Others have their turn now like I had mine.
From my place now, on the inside/outside, it is incredible to watch history move and LIVE-- history that has built up over years and decades and songs and nights and laughter. History that keeps them going to Everybody's on Friday night, Zestos on Saturday night, that has given them senior pranks and dance parties on the stage between shows and makes them bellow "Bohemian Rhapsody" at the top of their lungs.
The history that you built up for us.
The history that we built up for you.
The history that you continue to create for kids who are sitting on the floor in front of the stage, wanting to be where you are.
The history that opened it up for each of us, and the laughter, tears, frustration, elation of each unique moment that made us come back for more, that make it real, keep it fresh, give it layers...
It just boggles my mind how it goes on and on and changes and yet remains exactly the same. It's a simple concept on the surface I guess, but seeing it in action makes me grateful and proud and blessed to be a part of this thing that is so much bigger than me, that encompasses all of us in some way, no matter how far removed (mentally/geographically/spiritually/physically) we are from those days.
That stage is sacred whether you were up there yesterday or ten years ago, for one show or six. And when I am in that room, you're all there with me. What was created before me, what I learned, what I helped keep up, what I passed on. It's such a special thing that this group has done-- this collective group of people that make up the Glenn Youth past and present, people who have never met before, people who are still best friends-- and I just feel the need to acknowledge that, and to say thank you.
(photo: Nill Toulme http://www.toulme.net/)