Super special stick
I’d like to introduce you to a super special stick. For months, this particular stick lived among many other sticks as well as leaves, grass, and small wildlife in a pile in our yard. She didn’t think herself super or special at all. While she was certainly part of something much bigger than herself—that being the pile in our yard—she didn’t feel she stood out. Rather, she blended in.
One day, I was perusing my email when I happened across a call for auditions. Our local professional theater production company was teaming up with our local community and children’s theaters for a big summer production. They announced an open call.
The thought of landing a bit part in the summer production was thrilling. It would allow me to flex creative storytelling muscles, which in turn will nourish my writing skill. So I reached out to the director and asked if there were any small parts for adults who are in the 50-ish age group?
The director responded almost immediately with the question, “Can you sing?”
I didn’t realize the play was a musical. I responded that I could sing, but my voice was neither trained, nor strong. Also, my range is lacking.
Thinking that was that, I didn’t give the big summer musical another thought—until the director responded again. He said there was a bit part, the part of a parent, that didn’t require singing. He encouraged me to audition.
What does any of this have to do with my super special stick? I’m getting to that.
A tingly thrill feeling shot up my spine when I read the director’s email. I responded that I'd love to audition. He then sent me a passage from a play to prepare. It was not from the musical. Instead, it was a few paragraphs from All My Sons by Arthur Miller.
There was one week between the day I received the assigned piece and my audition. Every spare moment, I worked to learn the lines. I contemplated what this mother felt, thought about my own boys, and poured all my emotions into the words.
Through the grapevine—we live in a relatively small town—I heard others were vying for the same part. I knew that if I really wanted to be in the big summer musical, I’d have to stand out. My acting resume was paltry, so I'd need to really shine with talent. A talent that was frankly a bit rusty. Other than a few staged readings, the last time I’d performed in a play was eight years ago.
The day before the audition, I knew what I had to do. I went to that pile of sticks and debris in our yard. Immediately, I saw the perfect audition partner. A star among sticks. A super special stick. I plucked her from the pile and began running my lines with her.
Some might see her as a mere prop. But I knew better. She had the power in her dry scraggly appendages to make us both shine.
The moment we walked into that audition, everything fell into place. With my super special stick at my side—well, in front of me on the floor—I knew we were destined for greatness. With her gently propped in my left hand, I let go of her and began the scene. Near the end, she and I made eye contact, just like we’d rehearsed.
We were both over the moon. We nailed it!
I kneeled down to pick up my super special stick, but the director stopped me. He asked that I put the stick down, as she was to reprise her role (yes, that’s exactly how he put it) while I performed the lines a second time. Only this time, he directed me to consider a completely different, less emotional, more matter-of-fact, proving myself to my husband scenario.
This time around was more challenging, but my super special stick and I pushed through. We must have done relatively well, because the next day, I was offered the non-singing mother role in the big summer musical.
With our audition a great success, I didn’t have the heart to drop my super special stick back in the pile where I found her. Instead, she was placed in a an arrangement of dry and silk flowers and greenery in our sunroom.
In that fancy vase, my super special stick will proudly live out her retirement from the theater. And I can glance over and remember our exciting audition for the big summer musical.