As I’m sure many of you already know, every show night we’ll get a “Five to Places” call before we go onstage at the top of the first act, and it’s customary for all the actors and crew to respond by saying “Thank you, five.” Then we have five minutes of time before we’re in our places ready to start the show.
As I sit here in my nearly empty bedroom, leaning against a bed that I’ll be selling later this afternoon, this phrase has been stuck with me. Everything’s packed up and in my car, and in a few short weeks’ time, I’ll be setting out for New York City, brick in hand, to play in the biggest, most important show ever: adulthood. I feel like I’m getting that five minute call right here and now.
I am unbelievably nervous. Here I am, some kid who thinks he can make it in the most competitive theatre scene in the world. I have a couple job prospects and a couple connections, but apart from that, I’m jumping into this almost completely blind, much like I did when I first auditioned for Alice in Wonderland in 10th grade, and 1776 when I started college. It worked out well both of those times, but it feels like jumping off the high dive after a couple cannonballs in the shallow end of the swimming pool. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m moving in with one of the best friends I’ve ever met (and I’m not talking about Bricky), who’s supported me the entire time I’ve known her, I’d probably be losing my mind right now.
Now I know that sounds like a lot to deal with at one time, but “Thank You, five,” is not running through my head for that specific reason only.
Five years ago, my dad dropped me off in Van Antwerp Hall with a truckload of my stuff and left me to start my freshman year at Northern Michigan University, which was a seven-hour drive away from my hometown and all of the friends I had made there. Five years ago, I auditioned for my first college show. Five years ago, I slowly came to realize that acting and theatre were the best way I could possibly express myself. Five years ago, I met some of the best friends I had met in my entire life, and would soon meet all the others.
Five years ago, I found a new home.
I’ve been trying to put words to everything going in my head now, but I didn’t know exactly how I could in a concise way. How can I accurately sum up the mix of nerves and excitement for my future as well as the bittersweet goodbye to the five greatest years of my life? How can I say it without writing an entire book of gratitude, stories, and pictures? Well, I’ll try.
These past five years have been remarkable to say the least. Between the work onstage and offstage, the crazy bar crawls, all of the friendships and relationships that began and ended, the many nights under the stars and/or aurora, and memories too numerous to mention, it’s been a hell of a ride. And as I’m getting that five minute call to finally start the most important performance of my life, I know that I’m prepared and that I’m going to do okay, even if it seems like I’m in way over my head.
Thank you, five.