Scenes from my acting career, 1993-1996


There was a time when I was drawn to the theater like a moth to a flame. To use my gifts and tools to create, to portray humanity in all its forms. Also, I didn't have a choice, since participation was sort of...mandatory.

In Elementary school I participated in many theatrical performances. I started out strong, bringing fresh life to some of the greatest roles ever offered the female actress. First, Glinda in The Wizard of Oz.

Yes, that's me in the pink, back in '93. This photo must be capturing my key scene of giving directions and ethereal hope to Dorothy. I can only assume the young man to my left was a munchkin. I believe we ran for at least two shows.

Next I took on a more unpopular role--I was a risk-taker! Also, I was far too sassy to ever be considered for the female protagonist roles.

The wicked Stepmother of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. I remember this evening clearly, as there was a lunar eclipse. Also, as my parents walked me home, the dad of one of my friends, Bob, told me what I already knew, that I had "stolen the show." (According to my dad, a video exists of said performance, which I might have to upload over Easter.)

I had an off year, as most distinguished stage actors experience, namely 3rd grade, when my HUGE crush Cameron adapted Aladdin for the stage, and I was cast as Rajah, the tiger. Ergo, no speaking lines. However, for some reason it meant I got to go on the magic carpet ride, which totally didn't happen the movie. So thanks for that, Cam. For some reason my parents didn't find it all that important to document my time in a tiger suit, even though I played the HELL out of that bitch.

But in 1996, I had my comeback. The previous summer I had done a summer workshop with the Oregon Children's Theatre, helping out with their Acting Academy (by being one of the students whose parents paid for them to be there). Apparently my take on one of the dwarfs in the '95 production of The Hobbit made a lasting impression, because this is what happened when I came back the next summer:

Yes. That is I, as Charles Wallace Murray, 'riding' a beautiful unicorn.

I remember how it all happened. We were rehearsing on stage for A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle. It was the proudest moment of my career when the two women leading our acting class were standing down in the aisles of the theater. I could hear them discussing who to cast as Charles, when one of them asked, "What about Maryann?" I turned. "Maryann, what do you think? Would you like to play Charles Wallace?" Of course I accepted, how could I not? I had been picked over the FIVE BOYS in our group to play the male lead! Even one that looked, well, almost exactly how I would picture Charles Wallace:

But no! My acting abilities transcend gender! I was allowed (or forced) to pick my own costume, and I ended up going with a slightly more 'modern' interpretation of Charles Wallace's style, wearing the Chicago Bulls 1992 Champions t-shirt my dad brought home for me from a business trip, plus some baggy jeans and a sideways baseball cap. I feel a more traditional choice would have been maybe a polo shirt or v-neck sweater with khakis, but in my hey-day, no one would have called what I did on the stage traditional.


Allie said...

Best post EVER. So inspiring. Must now present evidence of my acting career of yesteryear... will start working on that post right now...

Maryann said...

I can't wait to read it!

Kj said...

oh the glory. the glory. and having the "charles wallace-look-a-like" picture is the clincher.