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An alternate’s role: becoming someone else for someone else

Senior+Ryan+Land+and+sophomore+Kayla+Finke+interact+on+stage+in+a+recent+rehearsal+of+the+one+act+play+%22Hamlet.%22
Senior Ryan Land and sophomore Kayla Finke interact on stage in a recent rehearsal of the one act play

Senior Ryan Land and sophomore Kayla Finke interact on stage in a recent rehearsal of the one act play "Hamlet."

Ashley Vanderford

Ashley Vanderford

Senior Ryan Land and sophomore Kayla Finke interact on stage in a recent rehearsal of the one act play "Hamlet."

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Heart beating. Adrenaline pumping. I took a deep breath in an attempt to calm my shaking legs. The lights dimmed, my legs moving on their own, my shoulders pulling back as I became someone else.

I sat in my second period class, filling out the online application for dual credit when I received the news. I turned and smiled at Mr. Yirak when I saw him enter the room. I turned to finish my application, but my eyes wandered back to him. I knew something was wrong. I saw his lips form my name, and a dread filled me. One of the actors was sick, and as an alternate, it was my job to fill in for her. I felt the color drain from my face when I found out that the actor that was missing played the part of Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, who appeared from the first scene to the last scene.

I furiously typed, attempting to finish my application as fast as possible. I didn’t relax as I finished my application, for I had a much larger problem ahead of me. Today was the day the cast and crew of “Hamlet” traveled to Randall for a one act festival. I scrambled for my script, reading over my lines as I stumbled to the theater room.

After going over several entrances, we set off for lunch. I felt much more relaxed when we returned, walking towards the dressing room at a steady pace. I grabbed Queen Gertrude’s first costume, pulling the blue dress over my head. I had just gotten my arms through the sleeves when I realized something was wrong. I couldn’t pull the dress past my shoulders. I began to panic as I realized I was stuck inside the tiny blue dress. With the help of other cast members, I was freed of the tight clothing. I sighed as the other one slipped on, sucking my stomach in as I was zipped inside of it. I couldn’t breathe, but I had on a costume.

I held my script carefully while I stood backstage at Randall. Fear overwhelmed me at the thought of messing up a line or an entrance, which (spoiler) did happen. I put the script down in preparation for the first scene, which required no words on my part. I stepped onto stage, the fear suddenly leaving me. The rest of the play went fairly smooth with the help of my stage husband gently pushing me whenever I needed to move. I stood tall until my stage husband gently pushed me to my death. I mentally sighed (because I couldn’t physically sigh due to the tight dress) as my final words left my mouth and my eyes closed. I didn’t ruin the play, and, in fact, I finally understood the play.

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An alternate’s role: becoming someone else for someone else