Being ready for opening night is hard

When you walk onto that stage, sometimes you can’t help but stop and stare at all the seats. Look at the stage lights; envision them directed at you, the colors they would display (if they were on). Direct your attention to the seats. Sure, they’re empty now, but think of the implications: In mere minutes, those seats will be filled, and I kid you not, within five minutes the curtain will close and the clamoring of the audience getting settled into their seats will be heard.

It was opening night of Shrek: The Musical.

Hardly two weeks ago I had joined the crew for this performance, and after a few days of set building – okay, I only showed up for one day of that, but I’m no artist, cut me some slack – we watched the actors on stage perform act one and act two.

Later, we were assigned the props and sets to move throughout those acts. The first try was terrible. I must’ve stabbed myself six times trying to move just one set. I tripped over props, sets, and people trying to get things done.

I left the theater at about 11, or 11:30, and I was asleep by midnight…only to wake up at 5 a.m. to go to school and do it all over again.

The other practices went a lot better. The better we got, the sooner we could go home, the sooner we got home, the more we could sleep.

Soon enough, we had gotten everything down to a science. It was flawless.

Opening night: It was some scary stuff. I was a combination of nervous and super-pumped for this. I decided it might be cool to peek out from behind the curtain and see how many people were out there.

Bad idea. That place was a full house. I returned backstage and minutes later the music started. The actors entered stage right, left, and center. The crew got to work. It was beautiful. While lines were delivered with grace, sets were brought to their mark, props placed with elegance, and the dragon was assembled with precision and perfection.

Last but not least came the curtain call where all cast, crew and musicians made themselves known and took a bow. I watched as the actors went in groups. The applause was really, really loud, which only leads me to assume we did something right, but then came our turn.

Only, I accidentally wasn’t paying attention. I was a little slow to the take, so I ran out just a hair behind the rest of the crew. I tried to bow in time with them, but I couldn’t find any room to slip in. So I did the first thing that came to mind: I smiled, jumped and then waved.

Then of course ran off stage too, like all the other cast, crew, and musicians to relish our triumph.

Editor’s note: Theresa Hermann, 15, is a sophomore at Marquette Senior High School. She is a member of the 8-18 Media Senior Team and she plays trumpet in the high school band. In her spare time she likes to write and make movies. She is a daughter of James and Gail Hermann. 8-18 Media is a youth journalism program of the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. Through the program, teams of kids write news stories and commentaries on issues important to youth and about any good, or bad, things youth are up to. For more information call 906-226-7874, or email at