I was born to play Elizabeth Bennett. I’d been reading Pride and Prejudice, over and over since I was 9 years old, and I knew Lizzie: her character, her desires, and what she despised. So when someone else got the role, I was shattered. How could this be?
My fellow actors swooped in. “You’re so great with accents, you landed the coveted villain role, and you’ll be hilarious as the comic relief.” They flooded me with reasons why I should be thrilled with my two minor parts. As the readings began, I immediately started to feel better. We’d hang out together in the hallways between classes and eat lunch on the steps of the school, freezing in our puffy jackets and beanies. I focussed less and less on what I was missing, and grew further into my roles, embracing the evil intentions and delighting in the comedy.
Each day, as the weather gets colder and the days grow darker, our performances burn brighter. The play is coming together with the camaraderie of this supportive company of actors. Our rehearsals brim with intensity, bursts of surprise, and a great deal of laughter. There’s joy in creating a play worthy of an enrapt audience. And what had initially felt as a diminishment of light, became strengthened through these close relationships, the creative process, and actually resulted in the magnification of that unique light.
When auditioning for a role, it’s easy to lose sight of the main purpose of a play: the creation of an ensemble piece of art. This company has reminded me of the reasons I love theater: the people who not only embrace their own roles, but who also contribute their energies and efforts to a bigger picture. As we enjoy the last gasps of 2022, I bask in the warmth of my dear friends who keep me buoyant, laughing, and hopeful for the future.