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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, March 5

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Andrew / October 2, 2006 10:45 AM

I acted through most of high school, and a little in college. Haven't had a whole lot of opportunity since, sadly.

My first play was "Where the Wild Things Are" in 4th grade, in a French foreign exchange program. We performed (twice) internationally!

mare / October 2, 2006 10:57 AM

I was in kindergarten during the bicentennial, so we did a play on the founding of our country, the first flag, etc. I was Bestsy Ross, and I recited some poem about the flag. Fun stuff!

mike-ts / October 2, 2006 11:02 AM

I was about four, and was on stage at the church hall with the rest of the Sunday schoolers for a Christmas production. We all sang songs, and each of us had something to say in between songs, where we'd step forward and say our schpiel, then step back and kick into the next song.

No, I don't remember my line.

But thanks for prodding a memory I haven't thought of for years. Really, it's a good one, and is daisy chaining a lot of other pre-schooler era stuff.

missmolly / October 2, 2006 11:10 AM

i was "child" in "wackadoo zoo," when i was in 1st grade.

i don't rember my line, either.

tony / October 2, 2006 11:18 AM

If I'm not mistaken, my theatrical debut was in a kindergarten play of Dr. Seuss' story of The Sneetches...I think I was one of the star-bellied ones.

I'm sure that was the experience that set the stage for a modest drama career in high school and college. While I'd love to get back into it... I just don't have a lot of time nowadays.

printdude / October 2, 2006 11:19 AM

No, never, ever.

I am shy and quiet.

At least that's what my neighbors told my wife.

MUCH to her amusement.

leah / October 2, 2006 11:19 AM

I played Diane Arbus once in a class in college. She's cool.

What I learned: Not cool=actors. Money well spent!

roderick / October 2, 2006 11:19 AM

When I was in 6th grade I was Santa for an act in the Chirstmas play. Was in numerous school Christmas plays as some elf.

For my high school drama class final I was Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. Did I mention I can't sing?

My biggest "performance" was a swing dance solo done in front of a packed Foellinger Auditorium at the Unviersity of Illinois.

Mo / October 2, 2006 11:20 AM

I was in Wackadoo Zoo, too! I was the pig. And in hindsight, I think it was a cruel casting because I was a chubby kid. Thanks for building a complex, evil elementary school teachers. Thanks a lot.

I was also in some play in elementary school about a unicorn race, where I was the unicorn who lost the race because I kept stopping to help a drowning fisherman or other persons in need of help. I got to wear an aluminum foil horn. The moral of the play is that nice people finish last. Wait, no, maybe that's not what I was supposed to learn...

missmolly / October 2, 2006 11:24 AM

wow!! another wackadoo zoo!!

fluffy / October 2, 2006 11:40 AM

I wrote and acted in plays which I performed for my family. I'd have my sisters also assist- they'd usually be clowns. I was a clown too, but I was the smart one and I always made them look dumb.

In school, I was an international butterfly. I don't remember much about it, but I had to speak in 3 different languages.

van moxie / October 2, 2006 11:43 AM

In kindergarten we had a school play about a toy shop, and I got to be the head ballerina doll (because of the 3 years of ballet classes I already had under my belt). All the other ballerinas wore blue, and I got to wear pink and make up the dance! This would be so much funnier if you knew me.

Tyler / October 2, 2006 11:44 AM

I can't remember its title, but I was in a play in fifth grade where a bunch of students got LOCKED IN THE SCHOOL for the ENTIRE SUMMER. I'm proud to say that I came up with the basic plot - it was all me.

christian / October 2, 2006 12:05 PM

In high school I was in an experimental theater (student directed) production of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" episode 9, The Ant, An Introduction. I played all the Eric Idle parts. We tried to make it as strange as we could, I think we succeeded. Someplace there is a video of me singing the lumberjack song chorus.

I was in the second group of three student productions, the first was random bits and pieces of Monty Python episodes, ours was a full episode, and the third was a full episode of Fawlty Towers.

paul / October 2, 2006 12:09 PM

My first role was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. A social commentary on how minorities can fit in by performing the work an industrialized society requires of them. I wore a red ping pong ball for a nose. I think I was 8.

In H.S. I much preferred the backstage roles, building sets until I got the position of set designer for a minimalist production of "The Crucible". I designed three large low-angled wedges to set the individual scenes on, and pissed off all the actors who had to perform on an angle.

Shasta MacNasty / October 2, 2006 12:10 PM

Hmm...I remember singing "Old Suzannah" on a guitar made out of a shoe box, rubberbands, and the empty paper towel roll. I've been in various choruses in grade and high school. Never actually "acted."

s / October 2, 2006 12:48 PM

I, too, helped stage a monty python production, in 8th grade. It was the Dead Parrot sketch. I was the parrot.

My first speaking role was in high school, in "the Insanity of Mary Girard" - we went to Illinois State Theatre Fest... seemed like a big deal at the time... ah, high school...

I also had the lead in Ayn Rand's little objectivist propaganda piece "the Night of January 16th"...

I kind of miss acting, but I'm really glad I didn't pursue it in college, as i thought about doing. talk about pre-unemployment...

karyn / October 2, 2006 1:11 PM

In junior high I was in a musical called "Little Luncheonette of Terror", which was a takeoff on "Little Shop of Horrors".

I was Miss Fogg, the librarian. they wouldn't let me sing :(

cliff / October 2, 2006 1:26 PM

In pre-school I was in a school play, the name of which I forget, but since it was in the 70's, I was a very un-PC "red man" an Amerind native.

The first acting role I ever chose to pursue was Sir Benjamin Backbite in "School for Scandel" in college. Restoration costumes galore!

vit / October 2, 2006 1:36 PM

I scored the main role as the angel Gabriel in my church Christmas pageant when I was 9 years old. Unfortunately I got sick with strep throat 3 days before my big debut.

In High School I had a few bit roles, but nothing ever approaching the glory days of yore.

annie / October 2, 2006 2:48 PM

I tried out for a play in high school, to please my mom, who was concerned I wouldn't "get involved". I can't dance, act or sing, so it was a joke. After "learning" the dance steps we were able to practice and then auditions would start in a few minutes. I should have left, but I stayed. When called to the stage with a group of other girls, they put me in the front so I wasn't even able to copy the moves from the others. When the music started, I did jumping jacks so at least I was moving. The older girls in the seats pointed and laughed. I ran all the way home, never to return to stage again.

Allan / October 2, 2006 2:52 PM

When I was in 4th grade our class went on a field trip to see a community theatre production of The Wizard of Oz and I was enamored. It was the first play I ever saw. There was something about it that made my heart race and when the audience would laugh or applaud I remember feeling euphoric. For weeks after that I wanted to be an actor and even made my own scarecrow costume and would practice in front f the mirror and put on shows for my Mom. I can't put into word how much of an impact that had on me as a kid. When our teacher Mrs Rice said we would put on a Christmas play I did everything I coiuld to get into the play and landed the roll of the elf who held and checked of Santa's list. My only lines were to say "Check" as Santa took inventory of the toys. When the day of the big Christmas program came around the whole school was packed into the the assembly hall first thing in the morning and I never had a chance to go to the bathroom. When it was our turn to go on stage I told Mrs Rice i needed to go to the washroom but we were not aloud to go alone and said there was not time. I was then pushed out on stage with the rest of the kids. The combination of being nervous and having to go really bad. I pissed myself on stage but no one noticed because I was wearing a costume that covered the big wet spot in my pants and I had on my rain boots that filled and soaked my socks. I walked off stage shaking like a leaf with my boots full of piss. Nobody even noticed. When I finally got to the bathroom I was to embarrassed to come out and the male vice principal ended up having to come in and get me and walk me bawling past my class lined up in the hall to the office where they called my Mom to come get me. Since then the thought of being on stage makes me nauseous.

Greg / October 2, 2006 3:07 PM

As a freshman, I was one of the heavies the main character hears on the phone in Sorry, Wrong Number. This led to a very standard high-school drama career -- intertwined, of course, with standard High-School Drama.

shermann6 / October 2, 2006 3:12 PM

In second grade, my first play was "Alice in Wonderland" and I played Tweedle Dum.

My only line was "I'm Tweedle Dum, and I'm his chum!"

and the teacher scolded me because I was mouthing the lines of all the other actors.

Onid / October 2, 2006 3:12 PM

My first and only role was in a Greek school play during the yearly Greek independence day ceremony. I was one of several Turks that were stared at by the Greek forces until we ran off stage.
All of the soldiers (Turks and Greeks) choreographed a violent battle scene that the teacher refused to use.

I recited poems and sang songs in other ceremonies but this was my only role.

K. / October 2, 2006 4:08 PM

I got to play a lot of iconic women in my grade school acting career. In 2nd grade, I played the Virgin Mary, in 5th grade, Vanna White, and The Statue of Liberty. My role in all three plays was basically to stand around, which I guess says something about "iconic" women, and/or my acting skills.

Susan / October 2, 2006 4:25 PM

I have. I'm pretty sure my first role was Winnie the Pooh in some sort of teddy-bear-themed school play when I was in the second grade.

The role I remember the best was Hera. This was in a musical that my friends and I wrote when we were in the eighth grade, which is probably my most impressive literary accomplishment to date.

In high school, it was all non-dancing roles in musicals.

Felix / October 2, 2006 4:37 PM

Flower. Bozo Show (1979). To whom does a guy have to give a Dirty Sanchez in order to get a listing on IMDB?

Tobermory / October 2, 2006 4:57 PM

Ugh - does this ever bring back horrible memories. In third grade we were doing some sort of multi-classroom choral performance - one show for parents and one show for fellow students. I had a solo line in some song about Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer - I had to step forward and sing, "and they're gonna see 'em all the way from here to St. Joe!" (It was a reference to illicit fireworks I think). I totally froze in the first performance - I stepped forward, opened my mouth and nothing came out. I recovered enough from my shame to do OK in the next performance, but I think I can trace my totaly stage fright to this very moment.

Eamon / October 2, 2006 5:09 PM

I was Ali Hakim in my high school production of Oklahoma, mostly 'cause I was trying to put the mack on someone.


Emerson Dameron / October 2, 2006 5:16 PM

I played Father Time in a kindergarten production. I wore a top hat with a clock on it. I recall nothing else about that play.

amyc / October 2, 2006 5:17 PM

I did a few school plays in grade school, and dance recitals through 12th grade. My big role was in "Free to Be You and Me" in fifth grade -- I read the poem about housework, and I can still remember about half of it. I really wanted to be an actress up until high school. I was going to move to LA the day after graduation and just wait to be discovered. Fortunately, I came to my senses and went to college instead.

Steve / October 2, 2006 6:10 PM

I peaked in first grade, when I played Uncle Sam in a bicentennial celebration and gave a speech about being a good 'merican. After that, it was just choral roles for me, though I did try out to be O'Malley the Alley Cat in fourth grade and the lion from A Boy Named Pierre in fifth.

p / October 2, 2006 7:23 PM

I had a monologue in a dynamite community college production in which I simulated recieving oral sex (or "getting knowledge" as the kids are saying) from an old woman, complete with very animated full climax. One of my lines was, "did you take out your teeth." I had very specific lines which the director was adamant I follow word for word. That meant rehearsing over and over my scene while keeping to the script of oh yes 4x, uhgghh 6x, i think i'm going to..., etc. Also had a showcase for the class in which we performed scenes from American Buffalo- which was really fun. Also did some shakespeare thing where i was talkin' about cuckolds and screaming fi fi fi and whathaveyou and that always rules.

Leelah / October 2, 2006 7:40 PM

My first role was as the Angel of the Lord in the Christmas play.

I had some bit parts in high school, took acting classes in college, and somehow I ended up teaching drama for 5 years.

Marilyn / October 2, 2006 8:37 PM

I played King Ahasuerus in my second-grade Purim pageant. For a real play, in junior high I played Hermia in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". In high school, I was Mrs. Antrobus in "The Skin of Our Teeth." That was about it for speaking roles of any kind. I did tons of tech theatre, though.

Allan / October 2, 2006 9:59 PM

Am I the only one with enough balls to admit I pissed myself as a kid. I thought there would be a ton of those stories. I know of two other guys in my class alone who did the same thing. Come on people! Get some balls.

dave / October 2, 2006 10:22 PM

I don't know the name of the play, but the first role I recall was as John Jay in a musical about the Continental Congress.

I still remember some of the songs, including one that went "No, negative, never, absolutely not! You didn't say 'may I' -- that's what you forgot!"

Sound familiar to anyone?

Allan / October 2, 2006 11:37 PM


Yeah that sounds familiar but at what point did you piss yourself on stage?

s / October 3, 2006 9:03 AM

4th grade... Prince Charming.

fluffy / October 3, 2006 9:19 AM

I can't remember the name of the play, but I once played the part of a queen of a town called "laundromat" where everyone smelled clean, fresh and sunshiny. We were preparing for battle against the evil 'Snuggle'....oh wait, that wasn't me. never mind.

kate / October 3, 2006 9:38 AM

I was usually "the mom" role in any grade school class play... I was a tall child.

I tried out for the school play in 6th grade but wasn't cast... I think it's due in large part to the fact that I kept losing my place on the script during the audition - I'd never been on a real stage before and I wanted to check stuff out.

And Allan, I totally pissed myself on the playground in 3rd grade. I think I was having too much fun on the monkeybars to notice that I sorta had to go. So my mom brought me new undies and shorts and when my friends asked if I'd changed, I totally denied it and thus acted my way out of being a playground pants-pisser.

jj / October 3, 2006 10:10 AM

Yes, zillions of times. I believe my first time on stage was the pre-school tap and ballet recital, but my first "acting" gig was as Mother Mary in the first grade Christmas play. I think I was chosen because Sister Carolita felt this could be the first step to nun-hood. Alas, that did not work out quite as she planned, bless her heart.

Flips / October 3, 2006 10:35 AM

I, too, debuted as the Blessed Virgin Mary at age 4 in the church Christmas pageant. I think that was the peak. Thereafter my roles were less than stellar and was given jobs like "script prompter" which sucked but in retrospect was better than having to dance to that stupid song about Putting On The Ritz by Taco in the 4th grade. However I still recall lines from that stupid show and no one else has a clue what the hell I am talking about when I say "It's a man! I wonder what he wants, ma?"
because it's stuck in my head eternally.

Bill V / October 3, 2006 11:17 AM

In church, I was a wise man. Now I play a wise ass nearly everyday.

Shasta MacNasty / October 3, 2006 12:54 PM

amyc: I did "Free to be you and me" in grade school also! Well...the chorus actually... : /

Shasta MacNasty / October 3, 2006 1:03 PM

:::with arms wide open::: Lean in for the hug Allan...

I've never pissed myself on stage, but I did feel like I was going to crap all over myself right before doing a blog reading. Got the bubble guts and everything. Thankfully, nothing happened. However I still think I deserve points for getting that nervous and THAT close to the edge of disaster as an adult. Gimmie my props.

Marilyn / October 3, 2006 1:15 PM

Allan - Your enjoyment of public humiliation is starting to become worrisome--and kind of gross..

natalie / October 3, 2006 1:31 PM

"jack and the beanstalk", first grade--I played the giant's wife*

*funny because I was the tallest girl in the class..this was a cruel taunt during recesses for the next 5 years...

fluffy / October 3, 2006 2:14 PM

The teacher hadn't called on me all year was math class and you had to go up to the board, in front of everyone, by yourself, and work the math problem. Well, she picks me AND caught me off-guard, AND I was going to get to use color chalk! I was so excited I peed on myself as I stood up. I never did get to the board or to use the color chalk. She didn't call on me the rest of the year.

I was going to use pink :-(

Allan / October 3, 2006 3:52 PM

Shasta MacNasty- Mad props but making number one in your pants as a kid is one thing going number two as an adult is a different thing entirely. Yuk!

Marilyn- Come on baby you know how I roll but I am flattered over your concern. Are you trying to save me?

kp / October 3, 2006 4:08 PM

I was in Wackadoo Zoo too. Either we all went to the same school, or it was a popular play. I was a goat- and I wore an old white shag carpet with a hole cut in it for my head. It was awesome.

nocomment / October 3, 2006 4:53 PM

Christmas 1987, I was (I held) the Star the 3 wise men followed.

Ralphie / October 3, 2006 5:10 PM

God help me, but I grew up in a town way the hell north in Michigan, where there were no people of color. When it came time to do the 6th grade play, someone had to put on blackface and play the roll of Jim in Tom Sawyer. My mom made me a afro wig.

Also, I was a dancing skeleton, and mid dance my rib cage fell off, and I put it back on upside down.

marilyn / October 3, 2006 7:16 PM

Not into saving anyone with hang-ups. Get yourself a shrink.

via / October 3, 2006 8:15 PM

My debut was in the gifted program in kindergarten. I was Goldilocks, and instead of acting out sobbing, I actually said, "Sob, sob."

Right. The gifted program.

Cindy / October 3, 2006 11:31 PM

I played a Card (i believe it was the Ace of Clubs) in Alice in Wonderland in forth grade.

It was horrifying and needless to say, i never acted again.

Mister C / October 3, 2006 11:58 PM

I did scads of stage acting as a youth and in my teenage years. My first role was in kindergarten when they had a presentation and skit by a character named Patch The Pony who taught kids about stranger danger. "Neigh Neigh Neigh, from strangers stay away" was Patch's catchphrase (I kid you not, this was the late 60's). I was selected to be "the Red Haired Boy" because I had the closest to red hair in the class, but it was horrible miscasting because I towered over the kid who was picked to be the Malevolent Stranger and it just destroyed the dramatic tension of the piece, something I complained about bitterly but was told to shush.

A couple years later in second grade; I produced, directed, set designed/constructed, adapted to the stage, and starred in a version of Frederick March's biopic of Jean Lafitte (sic?) entitled The Buccaneer. I got this weird bug up my butt after seeing it on The Late Late Movie and my teacher and all the adults decided to humor me (although they wouldn't pony up the several thousand dollars I wanted for production costs) and let me shanghai my fellow classmates into working on it and performing in it (although they wouldn't devote the several hours a day to rehearsal and prep I wanted them to).

The first through third grades were invited to the performance, and I was really bummed because things were not going as professionally as I'd hoped (my cohorts just didn't care, which enraged me) and then I became absolutely livid when the adults started laughing during certain dramatic intervals.

Yeah, I was an extremely odd and obsessive kid, thank goodness I've changed ;-)

Sir Charles / February 5, 2007 4:42 AM

Aside the primary school role as a COW, should be The fiddler on the roof acted in Kampala Uganda (Thats in East Africa Y'all!)

First for the girls and my quest to always try something new...and now I'm hooked!

It's always a breathe of air for the actors usually comprise of eloquent english speakers, afar from my usual shizzle-nizzle-bizzle friends!!

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