"After seven years, I can't describe it in one word, there's too many." Michael Grey
At the end of the day Monday I posed the question: Describe your experience or feelings for Papermill in one word. I received words that had a lot of depth such as, "wonderful, growth, devastating, family, eye-opening, inspiring." Words that make little sense to someone out of the program like one example, "giraffe." And even a word that isn't actually a real word, "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." Some people had too many words, some had too few, and some had none at all. But one word that I felt best described the Papermill, that could incorporate all of the descriptions I was given was "home."
Home is a place where you have your highest points and your lowest. Where the most devastating and wonderful events can occur. Where the word "giraffe" can mean something extremely hilarious. Where fake words can become real ones. And where you can find your family. And the Papermill has given us just that, another home.
This week is the last week of my experience in the Papermill Playhouse Summer Musical Theater Conservatory. We no longer have our classes and electives. We no longer have only two hours to rehearse or time to mess around–though being teenagers people obviously manage to find time to have fun. We are spending our last two days at Montclair State University on Monday and Tuesday and starting Wednesday we will be practicing at the Papermill Playhouse. Friday is our opening night. And Saturday the closing, the closing of not just a concert but of a month's worth of memories and moments.
I always think it's funny, how in the last week of a program you finally begin to realize how much it all means to you. How close you are to everyone, even the people who don't hang out in your circle of closest friends. There is almost too much to remember and recall. We haven't even reached opening night and I already find myself reaching for memories of the first day during auditions when I was so nervous I thought I could die. Last week when I witnessed the most amazing improv musical ever during our Improv elective. The day Mark Hobee complimented the first article I wrote for Patch which caused me to be so tongue tied I couldn't remember how to say "thank you." Good times. But it's true. There have been so many good times.
Great times. Too many to tell.
Last week one of the things I remember most, other than how awesome Improv was–a class that was amazingly funny and a wonderful lesson in having confidence and going with the flow–were the students who were not returning next year. How some of them were crying as they came out of their acting class. Many of them had been in the program for a few years at the least and when I looked at them I sympathized more than I can explain. They have a home that they are leaving, though that doesn't mean they won't get to come back. But for them and others it's a chance to move on, to find new homes that there will be too many words to explain. Though from the bonds I've seen between people they will always be welcome back.
I am extremely excited for the concert. After listening to some songs from the other sections I can tell it's going to be amazing. I can't wait to hear everyone and see them when we get to Papermill. Dressed in costume and under the stage lights. Like I said in the first article there is a reason everyone got into this program, and it's because everyone is so talented, so amazing, and so ready to learn how to be the best performer they can be. And they are, everyone really is worth a leading role in any show I'd like to see.
I encourage anyone who reads this article to come to the concert. It will take place on Friday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 31 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets -ranging from $22.50 to $38.75 can be purchased by calling 973-376-4343 or by going online at www.papermill.org. It's worth your time I can assure you. When you come to the New Voices concert you'll be getting more than just a chance to see a great performance. You'll be getting an open door to look into the home our family has created. And I promise you, you won't be disappointed.