Confessions of a self-aware theater kid

Carmel Stephan, mouth of words

The following is a statement submitted to The Wire by an unknown Whitman student:

The theater is a strange place. Its physical design completely shuts off the exterior world to create a whole new world on stage and have it be believable –  if only for a few moments – and it achieves this through advanced and industrial mechanisms that feel void of what is unhuman. For better or worse, the theater is one of the most wholly human things on this planet. 

Though I try my very best to keep it under wraps, I confess that I was (and, under many layers of embarrassment and cold intellectualism, still am) a theater kid. When I was 14 and had earphones in, chances were I was listening to the likes of “Next To Normal” or “The Last Five Years.” I contributed to the Wikipedia pages of several Broadway actors and musicals. I’ve created multiple new emails to get a free trial on BroadwayHD, and I know all the good slime tutorial playlists on Youtube. I even downloaded a file compressor on my computer to watch the 2007 revival of “110 in the Shade.” However, there is one thing I never fully understood: the whole Denny’s cast party. The last thing I ever wanted after a performance was to go to a 24-hour diner, disturb the entire waitstaff and choke down a giant buttermilk pancake at 11 p.m. 

Today, you can still find me listening to past and present musicals and looking at the recent Playbill posts on Instagram. Such passions don’t burn out so easily. Theater was my first entry into the world of detailed and impactful storytelling, and performance of someone else’s words helped me develop my own vocabulary and seek understanding of what is outside of me. For all of that, there are no sins to confess. But, I will be paying an eternity of penance for singing “Hamilton” everyday in the hallways of my middle school.