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By Regan L., 8th Grade

The stage lights shine on the actors, bringing life to the characters inside of them.  No longer do the insecurities and pressures of middle school exist; they melt away when your feet hit the stage.  TheaterImage is an escape for me, a place where I can express myself, be myself, and invigorate my passion and dreams.  This year’s production of Aladdin Jr. is the best performance I have ever been a part of, and I am proud to say that I was involved in such an amazing show, with such a talented, inspiring group of people.  Although it is bittersweet that the show has ended, the memories we’ve made will last forever.

From the moment I walked into the first rehearsal this year, I knew that this year’s production of Aladdin Jr. would be one of the most rewarding, remarkable experiences ever.  I opened the creaky, wooden auditorium doors, the sound of singing, laughter, and the chit-chat of friends filled my ears, and I knew I was at home.  Every day I would sit in school and imagine going to rehearsal, the slow ticking of the clock hands moving along like a snail.  All day all I looked forward to was rehearsal, seeing my new friends, and thriving in an environment with no pressure to be the same as everyone else.  Rehearsal and all of Aladdin Jr. cultivated an environment of creativity and acceptance.  No matter what I did, I always knew that I would never be judged, and that I could be myself no matter what.  Aladdin Jr. was an opposite environment from middle school: a bubble of judgment, harsh opinions, and conforming to others’ expectations.

When I step onstage, I transform into another person.  I can commit to my character, and in an environment of love and imagination, I am able to achieve that easily.  You never feel unapproved of or insecure when you forget a line or don’t sound perfect, because everyone involved in the cast and crew is so kind and understanding.  This year’s production was the first lead role I ever received, so I know I made many mistakes, but I always felt proud of my work, and I always knew that everyone else appreciated the hard work I put in, rather than dwelling on the errors.

As I sat crouched behind the side of the stage on opening night, I couldn’t help but start beaming as the curtains opened, revealing the narrators, colorful set, and the tune of Arabian Nights.  I couldn’t believe that all our hard work had finally paid off.  After long days, hours running lines, scenes, and songs, I couldn’t believe that my journey was coming to an end.  Playing the role of Princess Jasmine, and being able to co-star alongside some of the most creative people I know was awe-inspiring, and I will never forget the memories I have shared with all of them.  The very experience of being involved in such an amazing production was something I will always treasure.  So, wherever my journey in life and theater takes me, I will always hold the city of Agrabah and its citizens in my heart.

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