R E F L E C T I O N S : part 2

Every year, I ask one or two seniors to write up a reflection post on their time at AWIP as they take their final bow in a mainstage production. This year, we have *so* many seniors that I thought I would open it up to all of them. A few were able to get something to me in the short timeframe I gave them, and here they are. Whether they have been with the company for 6 years or just a few months, they have all made significant contributions to our community and that is something worthy of reflection.

Hannah (6 years)

Leaving the stage is such a difficult goodbye. The socially nervous girl I was the first time the lights hit my face, hasn’t gone away, but rather she learned there was no fear in living. The stage taught me that.

With every character I was given the opportunity to play, I slowly found bits and pieces of myself in each one. As time passed I thought to myself, “this character is so confident and lively, maybe I could be like that too.” I expected theatre to be all pretend. A place where you are anything but your true self, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. What I take with me as I leave the stage is my passion for theatre, and my love for all the people within it. And at the same time, I take a new way of looking at who I am, and what I am capable of. through what I thought was “faking it” I found something extremely real and present. Myself.

Sam (3 years)

As I took my final bow I was able to recall everything I had been through to get to that final bow: the nervousness before the show, the laughs I shared with the people around me, all those Thursday rehearsals, my excitement after seeing the cast list, and how anxious I was for callbacks.

Thank you, A Work in Progress, for letting me be a part of your incredible shows, for all the friendships i’ve made with the cast and crew, and for giving me an unforgettable senior year.

Julia (5 years)

As those beautiful lights shone on me for my last bow, I was hit by a wave of emotion. I remembered 13 year old me, crying in fear before joining The Wiz, my first ever Mainstage.

I was afraid of all the people I didn’t know, of auditioning in front of strangers, of performing in front of hundreds… little did I know that those strangers and cast mates would become my best friends, and I would love the tolman stage like it was my second home. I am so grateful for the five years I have spent as a part of this company. I’ve learned to love who I truly am, and to openly be myself in front of others. I’ve found lifelong friends. And most importantly, I’ve learned that everything happens for a reason. God’s plan is always in the works, and it may not be what’s in mine. (Cue 8th grade Julia wanting to drop mainstage before it even began). So, when I rose from my final bow, holding hands with those who I hold closest in my heart, I looked out on to the stage, and said goodbye to the place that brought me tears of sadness and joy. I realized although I am saying goodbye to AWIP, I am not letting go of the priceless values and experiences that will be a part of me forever. Thank you to each and every person who has helped me become who I am today. I am forever grateful.

Josiah (1 year)

Taking my first and last bow at Tolman was  touching and fulfilling. Having accomplished so much during the 12 weeks was rewarding but saying goodbye to the stage was equally as difficult.

I regret not listening to my friends way back in freshman year telling me to do AWIP shows because of how much fun they were. Truly, A Work in Progress Productions is a company that fosters community and friendship, both onstage and off. It has taught me how to be a better actor, singer, dancer, and human being. I’m thankful for all the people I’ve met along the way. The instructors are phenomenal and really show an interest in each one of us and I cherish the times spent performing with some pretty unforgettable people. Love you all! – josiah

Demetri (2 years)

In the past three months, AWIP has helped me discover and grow a part of myself I didn’t realize was there. Apart from the amazing time, I know the friendships I’ve formed will last.

I hope to continue building on the acting skills, confidence, and general experience I’ve gained here, and give back to AWIP as well. Thank you to Miss Jen and the whole cast and crew. Love you all.

Cami (2 years)

As I stepped forward with the other seniors to take the final bow, I thought to myself, This is where it ends. But does it really?

Though the show itself has ended, the memories will always be somewhere in my mind, eternally ingrained into the hippocampus, available to recall at any time. And like those memories, I know I’ll have the truly wonderful friends I’ve made in my short time at AWIP for just as long. This particular production of Beauty and the Beast has been my all-time favorite, and I’ve done the show twice! So, as I waved goodbye to the audience, my brain corrected itself. This isn’t the end. It certainly won’t be my last performance, or the last time I see an AWIP show. And I’ll hold these precious memories of the friends I’ve made, the shows I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of, and the overall AWIP experience especially close to me as I continue on the mysterious rollercoaster of life. 

“I go, I go; look how I go/Swifter than the arrow from the Tartar’s bow.”  –Puck, A Midsummers Night’s Dream

Noah (5 years)

Awip has been such a major part of my life over the last four years and I’m sad for the final curtain to close.

This show has definitely been crazy at some points but everyone pulled together and put on the best production yet. Working with everyone in the cast and crew has been a true blessing this year and as I leave I will truly miss awip. I’m going to remember these times for the rest of my life. 

Graham (5 years)

Thank you to everyone who made my last year at AWIP so amazing. I’m so proud of the entire cast and crew for all the hard work and dedication they put into it. I’m so grateful to all the friendships I’ve made and all the people that supported me through everything.

Thank you, A Work in Progress Productions, for helping me become the person I am today. I couldn’t have asked for a better show to end my AWIP career than this one.

Kelsey (6 years)

To the stage that gave me so much and to the company that molded me; you have walked me through the past six years of my life and given me countless opportunities to shine, grow, and progress into who I am today.

I cherish every second I got with you, every relationship you gave me, and the millions of memories I have been blessed with, thanks to you. there are no words that express how it feels to say goodbye, but my heart is so tenderly filled to the brim with gratefulness that it eases the sting. I love each and every one of you who has walked with me, I could never forget you or the impact you have had on me. Thank you for being home for six years. Here’s to our tomorrows.

Here’s a few moments from their previous years on the stage… and *many* more like this will follow as we enter our spring semester and take aim at The Progress Show in May, where we honor our seniors and send them off into the world to shine! Be sure to follow us on all the socials and subscribe to our newsletter and blog to be up to date with our upcoming events so you can celebrate these kids alongside us.

To the seniors and the entire cast: thank you. Thank you for taking the chance with us and tiptoeing out into the spotlight to let your light shine. Thank you for serving as a team and serving the community together. It has been an honor to work with you as your director and to now send you off to bring your light to the communities that await you. Hugs+high fives+ much love!

Miss Jen, for all of us at AWIP

p.s. want to see what their journey was like as a cast? Check out the annual Bloopers Reel, below, for a glimpse!

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