The national anthem has just finished playing, there’s no turning back now. It’s the last show, everyone is in position, lights are off, the audience is seated and the light murmur in the room is distant with the sound of your own heartbeat drumming up in your ear. You can feel the warmth of your heavy breath on your upper lip and as your nerves get a life of their own, you recite all your calming mantras as quickly and steadily as you can. The lines! Oh the lines. What were they again? Your mind goes blank and all you can remember is that seemingly stupid mantra. Another wave of panic sweeps over you. You frantically look at the people closest to you, hoping to get as much as the first word but the darkness gets darker, if that is even possible.
The spotlight goes on and you squint as your eyes adjust to the blinding light, throwing you off for a few seconds. You remember where you are and in that moment realize the number of eyes staring at you from the shadow beyond the light. Like clockwork, your mouth starts to move and the words come out as if they were waiting right on the tip of your tongue for this very moment. Your mind starts to adjust and comprehend what it is you are saying and the lines start to flood back in, at the very best, the next few lines. As your mind settles, your body starts to move accordingly and that, that is the beginning of another master piece.
You see, performing arts is not just about reciting your lines and crossing your fingers that you remember them all. It’s not just about getting it right and getting a point across. We might as well print them and pass them around.
We read these lines, understand them, imagine them, relate to them, memorize them, internalize them and become them. No matter what it is, from lyrics to poetry, dance or theatre, we live these lines. Work, time and effort is put into it. Some days you are riddled with fatigue from doing runs. On other days you get lost in it and lose track of time. You learn more and more about yourself. Your skill, your capabilities, your potential and with that you sharpen and harness your passion. Performing is about expression. Expressing the lines of the piece, the meaning behind them, your perspective and understanding of them but most importantly your emotions in relation to them. It’s bearing your heart and soul using words, that might or might not be yours, drawing your audience into a world of emotions, your world of emotions and have them there with you. It’s a somewhat mystical place.
You say the last line and for half a minute the background music rises and then steadily falls. There’s a quietness in the room that is gripping as the audience realizes that it all just came to an end. The lights go off and we all feel and find our way to the backstage. The audience start applauding as the lights come back on, the stage is empty. At the back your heart is pounding, you just did it, again. A smile creeps up as you register what you just accomplished. Your stomach drops and the excitement gives you a hot flush. You are then called back on stage one at a time to be introduced to your admirers and possible fan base. You hold hands, take a final bow and as you rise you look into the crowd with a smile and satisfaction words can’t explain. AND THE CROWD GOES WILD.
This is what Dramsoc is about. The Strathmore Drama Society is a place of expression, creativity, talent, art and passion brought to life through blood, sweat and tears. We love what we do and it loves us right back!
BY NICOLE MORAA, DRAMSOC.