Even More Stuff I Found
There was one refuge for me. One oasis in the desert that was my youth. A little dramatic? Yes! But that's a perfect segue because that haven was the Drama Room. In the Drama Room I was popular. In the Drama Room I was slightly cuter than I was at my locker. In the Drama Room I was happy and comfortable and I could be myself. Without Drama, my high school years would have been unbearable.
Twice a year however, life got even a little more bearable! Because twice a year, I got to go to FESTIVAL! Yes, FESTIVAL! Festival was where we got to take all of our creativity and all of what made us unique and compete against every other school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. It was where Drama turned into DRAMA. It was like that scene in "A Chorus Line" where women and men are wearing leotards and stretching and singing, "God I Hope I Get It"! It was where a bunch of pimply-faced teenagers got their first real taste of rejection, and where the lucky few got to shine.
I failed miserably at many of these festivals. But, damn it, I picked myself up, rooted for the rest of my class, and vowed to try again the following semester. Then I vowed to try again the following school year. I would not give up because, at the very least, I was going to bond with other creative people and I was going to learn how to hear, "NO!", over and over again.
Then came 1988. There I was, all of 16 years old and Shakespeare Festival was on the way. I desperately wanted to do a monologue because I wanted to have only myself to rely on. (There were categories for monologues and group scenes, serious and comedic.) I also wanted to prove to my drama teacher, who never gave me a big part in a show, that I was worthy. Somehow I didn't get my scene assignment until three days before the festival. I think maybe I was originally in the serious category and was allowed to switch at the last minute. I picked a scene from "Twelfth Night" and played the characters Pyramus and Thisbe. My friend Sue Frietag directed me and we stayed up for what I believe was 72 hours in a row. Incidentally, Sue is now the drama teacher at the high school I attended.
Well, long story short, in a competition with about 50 schools, I won first prize. Which also meant you had to perform your monologue in front of the entire audience comprised of everyone competing in every category from every school. I believe I had already performed the scene seven times that day. And when I heard my name called I DRAMATICALLY collapsed to the floor and cried. I had only moments to pull myself together and perform one last time. I received quite an ovation. And the moment was made even better by the fact that my parents were in the audience! (They were judges in some of the other categories.)
Well, it's a moment I will never forget... Second only to my wedding day. Is that wrong? And I'm never getting rid of this damn trophy. It may be the only one I ever win.