Get involved in community theater

Published 1:08 am Monday, December 22, 2008

Please, Toby, talk him out of this and he can have my horse,” I cower.

Of course, I was told that honor and diction would prevent him from backing out, but I am assured that no one will be killed. After checking to see if I can run away (I cannot), I practice with my sword, quickly realizing that I don’t know how to use it, since I have not in — well, ever. The butler tries to show me a move or two but there is not enough time, and he is a butler so what could he know? And now I am being dragged to a fight I never wanted.

I cry, “Oh God, he kept his oath.”

Email newsletter signup

The swords are drawn and clang together and I get hit and fall to the ground, crying “Oh my God! I am bleeding to death!”

I hit the ground, lying there afraid of all the yelling and fighting going on behind me, and am out until my courage arises at the end of the scene — my opponent is in fact a coward, and I will beat him yet! Then, the crowd applauds as we walk off stage. Scene? Crowd? Stage? Yes, this was a scene from the play, “Twelfth Night,” at the Natchez Little Theatre.

I have met many friends in theatre and now I rarely lack for something to do. Who says there is nothing to do in Natchez? Most students yearn for the opportunity to try something new. In Natchez, the Little Theatre is such a resource — even if you only watch the plays. Yet, much could be gained if you were to work up the nerve to try out. My first audition was quite the experience in helping me work out my butterflies.

Auditioning had my heart thumping like a 9-year-old pounding on the snares of his first drum set. When it was my turn, I stood on stage with nothing but a little script in between these experienced actors and me. I imagined them as Broadway stars; all critiquing my every movement, and I just knew I would have a heart attack right there. The director asked me to read for Max — the communist lawyer. I stuttered through his long-winded paragraphs, while praying that the stage would open up, nails positioned as teeth in the hardwood maw, and eat me. Walking off stage, I imagined the director pointing at the door and sending me home humiliated.

Instead, I had orders to read for Jan Erlone, the labor party tough guy. Already embarrassed, I decided to not think about it and just do it. Then I would go find a cave with an Internet connection and become a hermit. The director, Layne Taylor, ended my reclusive fantasy when he said, “You are my Erlone!”

Even if you don’t get a part there is a lot to gain from the experience. Shy in front of people and don’t want to be? This is a good way to fix that. It will also introduce you to the world of theatre arts (and it would also look good on your resume). So why not audition? There is plenty to gain and only those nasty stomach butterflies to lose!

Go now to and find a play you would like to see, or better yet, click on auditions tab and find one that you would like to participate in. Also, an old Broadway star, Layne Taylor, is teaching a theatre appreciation class at Co-Lin Natchez, starting in the spring semester, which is a great class to take if you want to learn about theatre arts before jumping into it.

Cain Madden is the secretary for the Natchez Little Theatre Board of Directors.