The Bruin Voice

Honestly Sincere in the Middle of the Street

Emma Garcia, Online Editor

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I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since March 1st (at least). I have also realized that on last Wednesday, I spent more time in the theater than at my house. I have paint-stained clothes and bags under my eyes and a room that’s filled with things I carried into my room and dropped on the floor on the way to my bed. But the cause of all this, “Bye Bye Birdie,” has been amazing so far.

Take, for example, Saturday night. After an amazing show (and an amazing crowd), most of the cast and some of the crew went to Wingstop in Trinity for some food. We got there around nine and didn’t get home until at least two and a half hours later.

The amount of time we actually spent eating? About twenty of those a 150 minutes. The rest of the time? Well, if you passed by that area of Trinity around 10:30, you would have seen me standing in the middle of the street with Tyler Pruett recording the rest of our friends performing “Honestly Sincere” from Birdie on the fountain in front of Wingstop and Raw.

It all started once everyone made their way outside the restaurant and sat at the tables in front of Wingstop and on the fountain. Once all the food was gone, we theater kids do what theater kids do: start singing and not caring who hears us and if they look at us weird.

After we covered all the popular songs in the show (both in their original and remixed forms), we moved onto the “Rip Off” scene from Pitch Perfect and then popular Disney songs. Then someone decided, once everyone was getting bored again (the group in general does not have the best attention span), that since there were no cars around, we (except those like me who bowed out) should perform a song from the show. And since the fountain has about the same levels as our courthouse set and “Honestly Sincere” includes almost all of the cast to begin with and stars Dalin Nelson, who was there, it was the perfect song to choose.

The result was probably more entertaining in person than if you were to watch it on the video I took. There is no doubt that the cast has great voices (Dalin especially), but without the music, a person who has not seen the show might not get it. I, personally, loved it since I have seen the show so many times (and the song is one of my favorites). I was able to imagine the song playing in the background.

Either way, by the end of the song we were all laughing and acting crazy enough that I believe if security had come by at that moment, they would have thought we were drunk. They definitely would have thought that if Kelsie Hughes hadn’t kept the craziest of us going into Walmart and performing the song again.

Anyway, Saturday was a great day and an amazing night. It also made me realize something (since when I got home I was too hyped up to sleep until around one and had plenty of time to think because of it): those people I’m in the show with are amazing.

If you gave me a list of all of them, I’d be able to identify them very simply: my best friend, friends I’ve known since elementary school (since kindergarten, third grade, and fourth grade, to name a few), new friends (the freshman have a monopoly on that category), and friends I don’t really remember meeting but are there nonetheless.

This revelation is an odd sensation. When the show began, I knew a lot of the people in the cast but I didn’t necessarily hang out with them or even talk to them on a daily basis. There was an air of awkwardness during the first few days of rehearsal as everyone got more comfortable with each other. But now, we’re all comfortable with everyone else. At times maybe a little too comfortable but that’s also to be expected when you’re involved in theater.

On Saturday, the show will close and this will all end. We will have our last curtain call, I will call the final blackout, bring the house lights up, and the cast and crew will come from backstage and thank their family and friends for coming. Then everyone will change out of their costumes and we will strike the set. Afterwards, we will do the ghost light, which is a sort of ceremony.

A ghost light (please forgive me for using Wikipedia to find this information) is “an electric light that is left energized on the stage of a theater when the theater is unoccupied and would otherwise be completely dark.” Although this definition is true (a ghost light is used to keep staff from falling over sets and such when the theater is closed and dark), illuminating the stage is not its sole purpose.

The most common superstition comes from the name itself. Originating from the myth that every theater has a ghost, a ghost light has been said to appease the ghosts by giving them light to perform onstage themselves, therefore convincing them to not haunt the human actors of the theater.

At our theater, we use it a little differently. Most of the year, our ghost light sits in a corner of the theater (backstage by the gate where the grand piano is kept). But one night a year, closing night of the last show of the year, the ghost light is plugged in and placed in the center of the carpeted area in front of the stage with all of us sitting around it.

The ghost light ceremony is meant for everyone but usually it’s more actors than crew. I think that’s because a lot of people who help with crew only help for a show or two, not enough for the ghost light ceremony to be of great significance to them. But anyone who is in the last show of the year, or anyone that has been in a show that hasn’t graduated, is welcome.

I’m not going to bore you with all the details of the ceremony itself (and besides, it’s sort of a tradition that is meant for just theater people anyway), but either way it’s special and it’s going to be sad. People will cry and then afterwards, we’ll all go stuff our faces at IHOP.

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Honestly Sincere in the Middle of the Street