A Play to Remember

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
My time when doing both a play and track at once.

Submitted: December 09, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 09, 2018



Mrs. L’s last play was auditioning and I had plans on being a part of it. She was once named teacher of the year long before I even came to the school. The 63 retiring lady deserved to have a loving student like me be a part of her final hurrah. Track occurred at the exact same time though, consisting of hundreds of athletes and coaches who loved me, too. I was faced with a difficult choice to make, my very favorite hobby or an exercising experience. “How about both?,” I asked my dad.

He loved track and running more, although he did understand my love for theatre. “You do want to be a captain for xc, don’t you?”
“Yes, please.”

“Do track.”


Still, an instinct told me to come to my Winnie. “Which do you think, Winnie?”

“I’d pick theatre, but you have to be the one to choose.”

My happy thoughts leaned more to drama, though I nervously thought what the sports team would do without a gentle soul always around to keep everyone supported and more comforted. Winnie was fortunately kind enough to call Tigger about it immediately. “He feels unsure about which event to do. Is it possible to do both?”

“Well, he should do track to support his team, which could elect him as future cross country captain.”
“John, if it was all about running or sports, you’d be all for it. This will be Mrs. Lombardo’s last show before leaving everyone!”


I overheard every word as I studied my government class homework. My Winnie was the second greatest person ever, next to Piglet. Anyone who supported her with having Arthritus and a cute, chubby face always earned help back. “He can do both?”

“I’ll speak with her and the two distance coaches about it. See you soon, Sal Va Dore!”

She walked up to my room, slowly due to old Arthur inside, and said, “Jonathan, you can do both. First, dad will speak to her and coaches Steve and Bill.”

“Very nice! Thank you, Winnie!”

“You’re welcome, RC!”


Two weeks later, I finally met for the first audition and tried out for the barber and housekeeper in “Man of La Mancha”. Midland High was quite picky on big roles, having a long-lived reputation of receiving excellent ratings and awards with every show throughout the academic year. Feeling nervous and calm, I exclaimed as much as I could, “I’m only thinking of him, I’m only thinking of him! Whatever I may do or say, I’m only thinking of him!”

A couple others tried out and all sounded unique in their own ways. Aaron Mealey sounded grand as always, and Jordan T. Poland sounded just stellar with his deep, settling tone. Then for the barber, “Oh, I am a little barber, And I go my merry way! With my razor and my leaches, I can always earn my pay!”

Stephen Copkin and Ben DeGroot joined the tryout. Copkin never needed a mic to project anywhere, and Ben had a beyond perfect singing voice—good enough for New York and Hollywood!


Two days later, the official cast list was posted, and I was casted as a guard for the Inquisition. An honor to be casted for anything, at least in my eyes. I then walked to the gym right next door to inform Bill and Steve. “Good for you, man!,” energetically said Steve.

“Hope it goes well for you, buddy!,” added Bill.

I at least had to go through the first day of track practice to make my participation count. Dan Radler, Jacob Cantrell, and other seniors were there waiting to do warm-ups, listening to coaches speak, and go for another group run. “You doin’ track?,” asked Jacob with his usual goofy smile.


“Great. Let’s head outside for our warm-up!”


During warm-ups and cooldowns, everyone was by each other’s backs no matter their strengths. My fastest speed was average and sometimes above, depending on when I could do a sprint during a run. While it was naturally a little overwhelming to be next time hundreds of others at once, it was mostly joyful to be productive and around other good people. The sun shined brightly in cool weather on a day close to spring. My legs ran on the entrance cement to the stadium with shiny gold letters on signs representing Midland High’s stadium. The 500-meter long and 300-meter wide location was full of concrete and reddish-brown flooring for the athletes to do future races on. For five minutes, we did a jog and did warm-up stretches on the grass center stadium. Some included lifting one leg up with opposite sided arm to it while slightly jumping, really made us feel the burst of motion in an instant! Another doing the “karaoke” (No, not the singing type!) with our legs.


After another seven minutes, we finally got down to first group workout, the real business. “Your first workout for this year is to run from here to the water tower and back,” demanded coach Steve.

I picked the group with Dan, Aaron Chatman, Quinten Greiner, Jacob, Max Pasche, Shelby France, and Emily Kate Riley. Several were seniors and the rest were underclassmen; only Emily and Greiner were my age. We ran right away and through the neighborhoods right behind MH, the religious building nearby, Northeast Middle School, and finally to the water tower. All in ten minutes flat!


We were free to go as soon as the exercise was done; I felt proud of accomplishing another run. After that day, I could run at least a 5k anytime after school before or after rehearsals until the play finished its run. This 2013 musical would mean the world for Sue L, who had done MHS things since ’94. Pennye Padgett, another Winnie, was also outstanding and would sadly leave with her. Winnie the choreographer was always spot on with how she wanted people to move, especially when singing and/ or dancing. The 67 year-old cute, chubby thing may had looked rather sad or somewhat gloomy in the face. That could deceive, and her comments, such as, “Nice job!,” and, “Let’s get ready, everybody!,” showed it.

Dancing or practicing with another mom-figure was always a perfect treat!


Finally, in late April, the play premiered with literally 700 audience members showing up. I had my small, but still valuable, part memorized and happily ready to perform. Everyone who would not perform within one minute had to wait backstage, ideally in a green room. All work for geoscience, English, and government was completed and got to socialize a bit with some friends. Allie Williams, a beautifully talented redhead, was there most of the time I was, playing one of the several gypsies in the gypsy dance. Her costume included a green and white old-fashion outfit with crazy, bushy, long hair. Had the, “I’m wild!,” look required for all dancers and look dazzling as usual. “How are you?”
“I’m fine,” and giggled with a neat tone to it.

“Are you too busy right now?”
“No, I am almost done with my work.”

“Okay. Finish your work. That is more important right now.”
“Aw! Thank you!”
“You’re welcome.”
She was in a couple of advanced classes and definitely needed the time to focus and earn a gpa above a 4.00.


For my parts, I had to walk on top of the built set with my captain of the Inquisition, also known as Stephen Copkin. While his costume had grayish silver armor of a knight, mine included a khaki yellow shirt with sold brown pants and a black, flat, and tight hat. Plus brown gloves audience for afar couldn’t really notice. Stephen, usually kind and upbeat, pretended to be serious and mean. Five seconds after walking right behind a cardboard castle, “Cervantes! Prepared to be summoned!”

Like I said, no microphone needed for him—what a special talent! I was rather mute with no spoken lines, though I was taught even without dialogue, all actors have lines in their mind. Interestingly, I felt like Lon Chaney, famous actor from 1920’s film era, which was basically silent. Though he never spoke a word in his famous performances, it did make him an excellent actor still. Ranked in the world’s best actors in history list! Roles like “Phantom of the Opera” of 1925 and “Hunchback of Notre Dame” as old as my then 89 year-old grandma immortalized his acting. He and similar actors, such as Boris Karloff, made my contribute to this play beyond perfect.


The finale included Ben DeGroot/ Don Qiuote and John Berry/ Sancho be killed by the Inquisition as every other member, excluding Steve and I, sang the moving reprise for “The Impossible Dream” song. Fortunately, even when completely focused on my part, I could still partly listen to the voices with my mind. Such beauty and sorrow depicted in this classic! Allie was even a part of it! As soon as everyone stopped expanding their vocals for the last word, star… Black out.


A lot of cheers and wooing occurred as everyone loved the performance. Then, with every end for plays, each group of cast members took turns coming to stage front center to stand and bow. Copkin and I went up after the two executed stars and female one, a. k. a. Aldonza/ Audrey Ortiz. One minute later, every member stood side by side, held hands, and gave one giant bow together. Then the triumphant ending music stopped as all of us walked off to backstage.


After every performance, the actors would walk to the hallways of the theatre’s auditorium. Any audience member still there and behind the scenes members would be around to congratulate us. I managed to get a school year photo of myself and Ben, called me the friendliest Inquisitioner: so did everyone else. His mom, all Pooh-like, took the photo, and I spent the rest of the time with some track friends who also saw the play. All of them loved it and everything else about the story. “I loved how your character looked like Charlie Chaplin!,” stated Quinten.

“Thank you!”

My Winnie and Mrs. “Yoda” Lombardo seemed to love it most of all. “Great job, RC!”

“Thank you, Winnie!”

“You did a ‘bootiful’ job as always, Jonathan!”

“Thank you.”
Yoda gave a soothing hug with a slow-moving smile. All good actors deserved it; Scott Ginther, my best Aspie friend, was also there, though he was farther back and only smiled at me when I waved. What a sweet soul; as I left to put my normal clothes on and make up off, I thought of how it was positibvely a play to remember!!

© Copyright 2020 JonathanSluty. All rights reserved.

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