By Saige Joseph
Since my freshman year at Lake Forest High School, I’ve been involved with the theatre department. I’ve been performing ever since I was a kid.
Theatre has wielded a tremendous influence on my life. I’ve bonded with people who I now consider my closest friends. I’ve learned to love public speaking, I’ve been given an outlet where I can truly be myself.
Being a part of theatre means late-night rehearsals, long hours spent with the cast, tiring days one after another. My cast mates have truly seen me at my best and worst. They’ve seen me stressed, short tempered and have to redo a scene five times because I can’t manage to get it right. On the other hand, I’ve helped them run lines, and I've been there if they needed to talk with someone. That’s the beauty of it; these people are the ones who know me for everything that I am.
The relationships that I’ve been able to form through the performing arts have grown over time. All of my friends are involved in theatre, through acting, tech, or directing; they have all made me the self-confident and independent person that I am.
I used to hate class presentations. They were my worst fear. Standing up in front of the class, everyone staring at me, being graded on my presentation skills. I dreaded them. I now have a new perspective thanks to my involvement in theatre. Last year, I took the course AP Seminar, which is presentation based, and it was one of my favorite curricular classes I’ve taken. Every unit ended with a presentation; prepping for it was more fun than work. I would make my entire family sit down individually and watch me practice my presentation, showing off my skills to them.
Theatre has encouraged me to participate in other activities that involve public speaking. Last year, I joined the Speech Team at the high school, which entails memorizing and performing a 6-8-minute speeches. My speech last year was in the category Humorous Interpretation, which was a long scene involving different characters that I had to portray. If I hadn’t been in theatre for so long, I would’ve never had the courage to do that.
There are days when school has worn me down, I had a test that didn’t go well, I didn’t get enough sleep, then I go to rehearsal -- and my mood immediately shifts. I’m able to put all of my anger and frustrations into the scene.
This year, my brother is a freshman in college, and he’s no longer living at home. I’m really close with him, and it’s been an adjustment not seeing him every day. One thing that’s helped me adjust is theatre. I had rehearsals every day after school and was able to focus on that rather than the fact that at home my brother wasn’t there. I dedicated all of my energy into memorizing lines and blocking, leaving no room to linger on this change.
Most recently, I was in the fall show Clue in the role of Yvette, the French maid. This role was the opposite of my personality, but that was the best part. I got to take on this character that I would never have even thought of playing. I was pushed to make this character the best it could be, which entailed stepping out of just playing a mild-mannered, down-to-earth character to playing an extroverted center-of-attention character.
Thanks to theatre, I’ve been able to expand my interests and develop essential skills that have shaped me into who I am today.