It all ended with a squirrel. Here is how it started.
I am Avalena Linsky, I am a senior, and I am an actor. I came to Waynflete in the sixth grade, and did not find my place until I decided I wanted to be in a production. As a nervous sophomore, I sang a very shaky rendition of “What I did for Love” as an audition. Two days later, I was cast in the musical revue. From then on, I made a point to involve myself in Waynflete Theater.
This year, just after The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ended, I sat in a meeting to help decide what the spring show would be. I had offered up America Hurrah! by Jean-claude van Itallie as a possibility, and when it was chosen, I was asked to direct. Of course, I volunteered, but someone asked me along the way and I accepted.
For two months, I worked every day with a cast of thirteen actors to create a show. Rehearsals were tiring but rewarding. It was incredible for me to see how my visions and thoughts turned into something real. I met with Tiki Fuhro, official project supervisor, Caroline Kyros, stage manager, and Chris Fitze, technical director, once a week to discuss how the show would progress. Each day, we inched closer and closer to finishing the task of creating a stage-ready performance.
On opening night, I was backstage with the actors, waiting to give my curtain speech at approximately 7:28 pm. I have never been more nervous about a show. Not because the actors weren’t ready, because they certainly were, but because I didn’t have any sort of control of the show at this point. It was a real lesson in letting go.
Two days later, as I accepted that this would be my last production of my high school career, I walked into Davies, ready to take on the night. However, the lights were flickering, and it was far too quiet for closing night. The halls looked a little bit like the opening scene of The Walking Dead, when Rick walks out of his hospital room for the first time. I found my way into the theater to learn that part of the electricity was out because there was a squirrel suicide. The furry little thing jumped right on the spot that knocked a good chunk of the power out. I sat down with the entire production team, and we collectively made the decision that the show must go on, as cliché as that is.
As odd as it was, I had never been more comfortable walking away from something. Even though the show was pushed back by a half hour, and there was some makeshift lighting for the first act before the power fully returned, and I tripped a little on my way to my seat, I was more than satisfied. The actors and crew weren’t even the least bit thrown off by the situation. Directing the last show of my high school career was an amazing leadership experience. As I make my transition from Waynflete to Northeastern University, a much larger pond of fish, I am so glad I was able to share this process with the entire performing arts community at Waynflete.
For a gallery of photos from the production of American Hurrah, click here.