Seniors Reflect On Saying Goodbye to WATERFORDrama

The following opinion pieces are by two Lancelot reporters, Weston Long and Calvin Thibeau, who are also members of WATERFORDrama.  Long, an actor,  and Thibeau, a sound technician, reflect on what WD has meant to them. The Lancelot is running these stories togther for our readers to get the whole picture of the WATERFORDrama experience both on stage and behind the scenes.

The Final Bow: My Goodbye to WATERFORDrama by Weston Long

We were hitting the final note of “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat,” the second-act showstopper on the Saturday night performance of Guys & Dolls. I knew I was only a few short minutes from finishing the show and taking my final bow as a member of WATERFORDrama before I graduate. The process of Guys & Dolls was filled with so many different emotions for me; I knew that it was my thirteenth and final production with this troupe that had become a family to me. I did not know if I would be able to say goodbye. Thinking of the impending final bow just minutes away after “Sit Down” finished, my stomach began to tighten. However, I did not know what was in store when Mike McCarthy, the music director, cut off the final note.

        The entire cast was positioned in our rehearsed final pose, and we were instructed to hold the pose until the applause had died down. Michael Stankov was in a half split, front and center. Carin Estey was being dipped into Noah Todd’s arms while standing on top of a narrow, wooden bench. I luckily had a simple pose, with my arm wrapped around David Green. We were told not to move until the applause began to cease.

        The audience erupted. It was the loudest applause I had ever been on the receiving end of. I was stunned with the immediate thunder, but then it did not stop. Every time the cheers began to die down, like waves in the ocean, it picked up again. None of us had expected it, and luckily, it went on for quite a while so we were able to take it in and enjoy it. For what I felt to be a solid thirty to forty-five seconds, the rapturous applause went on, leaving the entire cast onstage baffled, humbled, and incredibly happy. My Guys & Dolls character Big Jule is not one to display a large smile, but during that tremendous crowd response, I could not help it. My smile reached from ear to ear, which is only a slight exaggeration.

        I could not think of a better way to end my career with WATERFORDrama than that moment. The immense approval from the audience after that song cemented why I love WATERFORDrama and acting so much. It is hard work. There is a lot of stuff to worry about from the actor’s standpoint, from character to memorization, but when it is all done right it feels amazing. That is why I am so privileged to have had this program throughout high school. It have been hailed as one of the best amateur theater programs in the area, and the training I received is already a good basis for all my acting endeavors in the future.

        Technical aspects behind WATERFORDrama are only a small portion of why the program has meant such a great deal to me. Walking into the auditorium every day after school began to feel like a home-away-from-home very quickly. I never was afraid to be who I am. It sounds so cliché, but it really is true. I was never afraid to be my weird self there because I always knew that there were people that liked me for who I was, and especially since there was always someone weirder. We bonded in that way. We all supported each other through everything. That sense of family is going to be what I will miss the most, now that I have completed my last production.

        Guys & Dolls was the ideal production to finish my high school career with for so many reasons, and I was sad to see it end. Nevertheless, I am excited for the future. I was talking to Joshua Marcks shortly before the overture began on the Saturday night performance. We will both be studying acting at Pace University in New York City this fall. He hit the nail right on the head saying that we have done all we could to do here with WATERFORDrama and we are now prepared to approach the future. I am very excited for the opportunities that the universe has in store for me, but I will never forget the lessons and experiences that I learned with WATERFORDrama, and the ecstatic applause that topped it all off.

Saturday night, a curtain closed on a cast and crew for the final time, and for some, it was more than a literal curtain. For the senior members of WATERFORDrama, Guys and Dolls was the closing of their high school theatre expereince. Included in that list of seniors is none other than myself.

And… Blackout: A Senior Techie’s Reflection on High School Theater by Calvin Thibeau

If you had told me when I was in middle school that I was going to become one of the longest standing members of WATERFORDrama, I would have laughed. I had no intention of ever joining drama. That is, until one day in the spring of mt eighth grade year. We took a trip to the high school to watch a performance of the musical Pippin, which is where it all started for me.

I was taken aback by the beautiful sets, fantastic costumes, and of course, the actors’ presentations of their characters. Everything worked so well together, and seeing the show grew something inside of me, an idea, a desire. I knew I wanted to be a part of that, one way or another. I also knew I didn’t have really any desire to be on stage, so I decided to get involved in tech.

I showed up to the drama sign up meeting my freshman year a bit scared and alone. I didn’t really know anybody there, and there were a lot of upperclassmen, so it’s pretty natural that I was nervous. I wanted to be accepted by the, because let’s face it, in high school, who doesn’t want to be accepted by the upperclassmen as a freshman?

As freshman year went on, I settled in and got used to doing the sound for the shows, made tons of good friends and learned a lot. It wouldn’t be until the end of freshman year though that I would really be put to the test. Originally, I had another sound guy working with me, but he ended up leaving the night before we opened Fiddler on the Roof, the last show of my freshman year. We had only practiced running the show together, so I panicked a little bit. Or a lot, depending on how you look at it. Thankfully, I made it through the show and all went well.

Since my freshman year, I’ve been a part of 15 out of the 17 shows that happened during my time in high school, and I can honestly say that was one of the best choices I ever made. Being in drama gave me something to look forward to: long-lasting friendships and memories I’ll never forget. Drama was always unpredictable: I never knew how a rehearsal or a show would go. No night was ever like another, and the spontaneity was what kept me coming back, as well as the proud feeling that I did something great each night of a show.

WATERFORDrama has made a significant impact in my life, as well as the lives of many others, and I can only hope that it will continue to inspire young people to get involved with theatre and the arts in high school.


Photo credit: Katie Manley