By Alanna Finn
Rehearsals took place at Kat's house in Brooklyn. It was a long train ride to her place from work, spent reading over my lines until I got there. I will spare you, again, the painful details of the first rehearsal. Iâ€™ll just say it ended with a lot of apologies, mostly for my inadequate ability to act paired with my complete inability to remember my lines. I felt like this was going to be the routine: play practice, humiliation, and a grand finale of apologies to both Kat and Anthony.
But, Kat had other plans.
I apologized for the last time as the first rehearsal session finally concluded. Kat pulled me aside and looked at me quite seriously. Her eyes slightly narrowed in on mine. I was a bit nervous, she had my attention. I thought she was ready to replace me. She began to speak in a hushed, but threatening tone. "Do not apologize. Stop apologizing." I wanted to say sorry again, but I shut my mouth. Well, I didn't have much of a choice, I wasn't about to go against the directorâ€™s directions.
After a threat like that, you only have one option: not to let your team down. And thatâ€™s what it was; what we were: a team working towards the same goal. Several rehearsals later, it began to feel like I was actually acting. The lines started to feel like my own words. The actions felt less like memorized awkward physical movements, and more like actual human interactions. Iâ€™m not sure if anything I did was acting, but it certainly felt like it was something.
The actual performance dates are more of a blur than anything else. I don't remember much about being on stage, other than that the lights were really bright. I remember more vividly the time I spent with Anthony backstage, in a cramped space coupled with lot of nervous energy. We would whisper our lines back and forth to each other behind the curtain just before it was our cue to go on. Right before we hit the stage from opposite ends of the curtain, weâ€™d give each other a thumbs-up through the darkness. Because thatâ€™s what teammates do before game time.
As I look back now, I realize the time on stage was just a bonus, a small percentage of my overall experience compared to the hours I spent at Kat's house, and those small moments with Anthony backstage. Itâ€™s funny, I feel like while I was trying to learn how to be someone else on stage, I started to find pieces of my own self offstage. It was never really about being in the spotlight; it was a culmination of what got us there. It was the work that went into something that started from absolutely nothing, Katâ€™s vision of what it could be, in her apartment in Brooklyn...and I feel like it turned out to be even better than we imagined. I often think, if magic exists at all in this world, itâ€™s in there somewhere.
It's been a little over three months since the lights came up on the stage that weekend, and I still find myself continuing my involvement with UV. Since saying â€œyesâ€ to the short play festival, I like to think I made some long lasting connections, and have said â€œyesâ€ to more opportunities I wouldâ€™ve said â€œnoâ€ to in the past. I recently sat next to Kat when I went to see Anthonyâ€™s original play production of Locombia (great piece of work, by the way!) Just before the lights went down and the show started, she asked me if I would write about my experience with UV for this monthâ€™s newsletter. I am not sure if this really encapsulates my entire experience with UV, or does it any justice, I just know that I don't plan on saying â€œnoâ€ anytime soon, and I hope I continue to get the opportunity to say â€œyesâ€.