Written by: William Dowsett (2012)
Black out. My hands are sweaty, my throat is closing: the butterflies. Trapped between two support systems compiled of two-by-fours, I maneuver meticulously so that I can peer between the plywood that separates fact and fiction, reality and fantasy, what “is” and what “could be.” Like popping light bulbs, miscellaneous words flutter through my mind and flash in front of my eyes. Within this cramped, yet vast, area I’m surrounded by people filled to the brim with talent. One wears a graduation gown, others have on bright red wigs with pigtails that defy the laws of gravity, and another has grown a hunchback. The realm of possibilities within this confined space, guarded by judge’s eyes and sharp shadows, is endless.
With such a realization my senses seem to heighten, and each heartbeat sends pulses through my brain of images that define the journey; A year of playing, a year of imagination, a year of progression. Just a few months ago I was a football player, I was a sophomore, and I was lost. Happiness was a rare commodity in my day-to-day life. Now drops of sweat gather on my brow and I recall the stress, the internal discomfort, that used to follow me everyday, suffocating my conscience. Undoubtedly, it was a turning point in my life: the first time I had ever faced a decision so monumental yet so minimal.
The hustle and bustle beyond this set, this one-inch thick sheet of wood sends chills down my spine. I can’t help but attempt to visualize each and every person: where they come from, what they’ve experienced. I’m overwhelmed with the thought that every individual has experienced a completely different life thus far, and yet, we have all gathered in one spot to share something together. I am mesmerized, I am nervous, I am honored. I was once covered in sweat, but now I’m covered with foundation make-up. I used to run laps, but now I run lines. I used to wear shoulder pads and cleats, and here I am in a turquoise cloak with burgundy lapels and fake money stuffed in my pockets. I am confident that I have traveled to both ends of the social spectrum, and I’ve become a better person because of it.
I’ve ran with the jocks, I’ve laughed with the geeks, I’ve danced with the dancers, and I’ve played with the players. I am who I am. A sudden hush brings me back: everything is still, voices disappear, even my heart seams to stop. A mental metamorphosis begins to take place within me. Months of rehearsal and preparation have carried me to this exact spot and months of rehearsal and preparation will carry me through these plywood doors.
Mayor Anton Antonovich assumes his position: chin up, full chest, heels together. The lights come up, and I’m no longer me. “No time for niceties, gentlemen; I have grave news!”