Since this is my first blog post on the first day of having a website, I figured it was important to write about what led to this day happening. My birth played a vital role, but there is one event that was even more vital:
Claude A. Taylor Elementary School’s production of Hansel and Gretel during my 3rd grade year.
I remember very little about the actual production. I vaguely remember my teacher, Miss Richardson, holding auditions in the classroom. In auditions, we had to prove that we could a) read and b) show emotion, although b) was somewhat optional. My paternal side shone through, and I was cast in the role of Father. I don’t recall who was cast as Mother (which, looking back, probably meant I wasn’t invested too much in our relationship.)
I do, however, remember who was cast as Hansel and Gretel. Brennen, a nice boy with glasses, was Hansel. I clearly remember this because I wanted the role of Hansel and he got it. (This experience would be relived in college when I was cast as Frank Lubey, the neighbor in All My Sons, instead as one of the sons. My character’s overalls, though, were fantastic.) A girl named Kim was cast as Gretel. She was the first girl that I ever knew who wore panty hose to school. I remember that day as if it happened in 3rd grade. She walked in the room and every boy’s eyes went to her. We were mesmerized. Her legs were now darker than the rest of her, and apparently that was the key to true beauty in the 3rd grade. From that day on, until the end of the year, I had a crush on Kim. Not a crush like I had on Lisa in the second grade, but after all, Lisa and I had done a puppet show together. Puppet shows will always trump panty hose when it comes to true love.
Rehearsals started, and I gleefully embraced being the parents of fellow 8-year-olds alongside my unknown wife. The show was progressing nicely until that tragic day, a couple of days before the show, when Brennen got sick and threw up on stage. (Note: He may not have thrown up on stage. It may have been somewhere else in the school. Or even at home. But for the sake of this story, let’s say he threw up right smack on the stage.) It was decided that we had to have a new Hansel, so Miss Richardson had all the remaining boys who were not in the show try out for the role. It did not go well. Miss Richardson clearly was not pleased with any of the available options, so she started auditioning some girls. When that didn’t pan out, she got quiet. And that’s when I offered to be Hansel.
I, like all child actors, had already memorized everyone else’s lines and would mouth them on stage anyway. After my second (dare I say flawless?) audition, Miss Richardson cast me as Hansel.
In a near Oedipal twist, I would also be playing my own father.
The show went on and it was successful. We all did a great job, or at the very least, we were cute. And though I don’t remember any critical feedback on my performance or my ability to show the internal struggles going on in Hansel and the Father, nor the unspoken but clear strife they had between them, I did receive positive feedback on the sound my boots (bought just for this show) made as I ran behind the curtain as Father only to appear as Hansel on the other side of the stage. The climactic scene was a dance where Gretel danced with Mother (who I suppose was there), and Hansel danced with Father. And as I danced with . . . myself, I realized two things. One, I made a very awkward dancer. (A fact that remains true to this very day.)
My second realization, was that I really liked to act. I returned to that realization 6 years later, after getting cut from the baseball team in 9th grade (I was one of only 3 that got cut. I suppose it was for being lazy. Or actually not being good.)
Now, I am in Mt Horeb, Wisconsin. Still acting occasionally, teaching acting at Forte Studios, and writing plays full time. All because I was a father in the 3rd grade. And a Hansel. Because of vomit.
Here it is. Steven's blog, where his thoughts about things are revealed. Good luck.