Tue. Aug 16th, 2022
Photo courtesy of Alex Schuler.

When I heard that Leesville’s musical production was Cinderella this year, I knew I had to try out. Big flowing dresses, gorgeous ballrooms and a fairy-tale love story drew me in– I wanted to be a part of it. I was wary about making the cut due to my minimal dance skills and absent vocal skills. However, by some grace of God, I made the show.

I was cast as an “extra,” which was perfectly okay with me: I was not expecting the directors to want to share my abysmal vocals with an audience. The cast list characterized me as a palace guest, a dancing and singing villager, and…a tree.

I was ecstatic with the thought of being a beautiful palace dancer, in royal colors waltzing around the palace. I was thrilled with the idea of being a quaint villager in pastels, singing (well, sort of) merrily during the opening village number. I was not, however, expecting to be cast as a tree.

The tree is the token “extra” part. Twenty years from now, I’ll tell my kids that I took part in a large- scale musical production. When they ask with anticipation what part I had, I will honestly respond “I was the tall tree in the back.”

As a tree, my role is to wear a brown halter dress, stand there, and wave my arms around while attempting to capture the “motherly-ness” the tree is supposed to symbolize. Um, yeah. I doubt Julie Andrews could stand there in a poop-colored dress flailing about trying to look motherly.

Not only that, but my tree scene is set in the musical number “Impossible,” the upbeat, “you-can- do-anything-if-you-believe-in-yourself” song. Now how am I supposed to not look like a total dweeb while trying to flail with the beat of “It’s possible, possible, possible!”?

My point is not that I am unhappy with most of my parts, nor with the musical entirely. I understand that every part counts and that “there are no small parts just small actors.” But a tree? Reeaaally?

I guess I’ll always have a funny story to tell about my high school musical career.

However, I did learn one thing. In life, we always need trees. And I personally don’t have to be, nor want to be, a tree all the time. But sometimes a tree is exactly what is needed in life. Sometimes a situation calls for a passive stander-by, someone who isn’t involved, a silent witness if you will. I learned through my experience as a tree that sometimes staying un-involved is necessary. Just not all the time.

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