t’s time to put away the fingerless gloves.
I find myself becoming increasingly nostalgic these days. It has a lot to do, I think, with the purposeful steps I keep taking into full-fledged adulthood.
Getting married this summer certainly began the process. And it seems that with the changing of the seasons, I keep striding toward a phase of life I haven’t quite figured out yet.
I can’t shake the dawning realization that in a few short months the concept of “school” will become something I used to do. And—more worrisome—that this earthly life is nearing the entrance of its second quarter.
Life, it seems, is a poetically interwoven series of firsts and lasts.
There’s a play by David Ives titled “Variations on the Death of Trotsky.” Near the end, Trotsky walks onto the stage with an ax protruding from his head. Despite the amusing scene, he goes on to deliver one of my favorite quotes:
“Sometime, for everyone, there’s a room that you go into, and it’s the last room that you never leave. Or else you go out of a room and it’s the last room that you’ll ever leave.”
The idea of leaving a room for the last time was stirred up last weekend as Tabor’s production of “Oliver!” came to an end. For me, this musical capped off one of those lasts.
For more than a decade I have lived for school musical productions. I have had the opportunity to experience racial tension in the Civil War-era Shenandoah Mountains, explore the unending possibilities of dreams from the tip of a Dr. Seuss clover bloom and travel the journey of a lifetime from the inception of the universe through the grounding of Noah’s Ark—not to mention romping with a loveable scallywag of pirates.
These experiences have given me grand opportunities to explore myself through settings and situations not otherwise tangible. But as Charlie Brown so poignantly points out in the musical adaptation of the Peanut’s comic, “Nothing lasts forever; all good things must end.”
In Tabor’s production of “Oliver!” I had the incredible experience of portraying Fagin, a responsibility that was as much understanding the character as it was acting the character. But trying to comprehend a contradictory character that author Charles Dickens created to be both conniving and likeable was only part of the experience for me.
My enthusiasm for live theater began about 10 years ago, when my fifth-grade class at Hillsboro Elementary School was working on our own production of “Oliver Twist.” I was cast as Fagin.
For me, it was an unexpected reassurance to have experienced that full circle. Stepping under the brilliance of theater lights for the first time and stepping off of the stage into a darkened auditorium for the last time, all while wearing the same fingerless gloves, has given me closure.
It comforts me to know the things we hold dear are not insignificant, but that there is personal meaning, lifelong impact and tangible definition. Our experiences are not coincidences caused by a chaotic universe, but artistically crafted by expert hands.
As much as I love pouring myself into music theater, I realize it is quite possibly time to put the fingerless gloves away. At least for a while.
There are going to be more opportunities beyond theater for which I will find an emotional drive.
But it is theater that has played an integral role in helping me find and express myself; the value of which will directly affect future ventures.
The beauty of living is that in order for there to be a series of lasts, there must also be a series of firsts.
Life, I believe, is a poetically interwoven series of firsts and lasts. The importance is what we decide to place in the middle.