Performing in Senior School Recitations

by Sarah Khan, Grade 12

My palms were sweaty. Nerves had begun to take hold, and I had just discovered that my performance was to be dead last. An entire evening of anticipation, I thought, just what I wanted.

Highlights from the first half of the evening included Yaou Wang (Gr. 12) and his uncanny performance of a madman, his scene taken from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Rio Hong (Gr. 11) gave us all a wonderful excuse for innate laziness, with “Where there’s a will, there’s a Velleity” by Odgen Nash. We were in stitches over Brian Christensen’s (Gr. 12) performance of “Closure” by Steve Martin, and again with Anna Queen (Gr. 11) as she closed the first act with “A Dug, a dug!” in broad Scottish accent.

Then came intermission, and with it came double the nerves. Although there was a lovely selection of desserts and drinks to choose from, I was incapable of eating anything. I tried to reassure myself—you’re last, you have time before your performance. It didn’t work.

The second half of the evening held a more serious tone. We did hear a few more comedic pieces: Ellie Patmore (Gr. 10) with “Albert and the Lion”, Colin Hawes (Gr. 11) with an explanation of how fathers should behave, and Olivia Krusel (Gr. 12) with a plant-themed twist on the classic Romeo and Juliet love story. On the heavier side, Laura Simandl (Gr. 12) brought tears to our eyes with her recitation of “Grade 7 Viking Warrior” by Taylor Mali. Theresa Cho (Gr. 10) gave a stunning performance of Marc Anthony’s funeral oration from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

A few performances later, Alexandria Butterfield’s (Gr.12) chilling impression of Lizzie Borden—a character in Blood Relations by Sharon Pollock, had just finished. It was my turn. By this point, my nerves were through the roof and enjoying the night air. Alex and I shuffled past each other in our row of seats. I walked down the steps toward the front of the room.

My first thought when I got onto the stage, was that I was completely blind. Any member of the SMUS Student Theatre Society will tell you that this is quite normal, as Copeland stage lights are too bright for the performers to actually see the audience. My second realization was that I was utterly exhausted. It certainly had been a wonderful evening, but it was also past 9 pm. My third, and final epiphany for the evening, was that I would never again stand in the Lecture Theatre as a performer on Recitation Night. Last shot, I told myself, best make it memorable, and then, I began.

1 COMMENT

  1. Sarah – what a lovely article on the SMUS Recitation Evening. You certainly captured the thrill and the magic of this event… not to mention the nerves! Well done and congratulations on a fine performance to finish our evening! It was well worth the anticipation.

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