On Opening Night

Opening night.

If you know me, you know being in front of a group isn’t easy for me. When I was a kid, I loved spelling, but at the same time, I HATED being a good speller because it meant I had to stand in front of my classroom until the very end of the spelling bee…

Then I had to stand in front of our  elementary school gym full of big kids and little kids and teachers — so many teachers…

And THEN, at regionals, an even bigger room packed with grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles…

My knees knocked and my right upper lip twitched while I strung together consonants and vowels to create the complicated words I’d memorized from the massive, obscure study list. 

I could have faked sick. (I did that sometimes when life was too intense for me.) I could have faked a mistake in Mrs. Witter’s fifth grade classroom and sat in the bleachers during the school-wide spelling bee, rather than on the stage. 

But I really did love spelling. And I cared about doing my best. So I chose to be brave.

Far greater than my love for spelling is my love for theatre. I’ve been in several plays throughout my life, and I’m always exhilarated, terrified, and extremely sentimental in the days leading up to production. 

Tech week is intense — you rehearse every night and get little sleep and try your darndest to get used to bright lights in your face once again. You help other cast members through their own jitters and throw them a lifeline when they forget a line, knowing they’ll throw it back when you’re bobbing in the sea yourself. 

The energy is HIGH. It buzzes through your whole body. You’re tired, but you can’t sleep. When you do, you can bet your bottom dollar that your whacked-out dream brain will have you naked and mute on stage. All the grandmas and aunties from the spelling bee will be there, smiling sympathetically at you while you cross your knees in failed modestly and attempt mouthing your next letter — your next line. Was it a double ”r” AND a double “s” in embarrassed? 

But today isn’t a dream. It’s opening night. Realer than real. And even though the present reality is that I’ll be off in a couple hours for a giant session of well-orchestrated pretend play with a group of once-strangers who are now friends, things still feel pretty intense right now in my quiet house on this dead end street.

So I’m choosing BRAVE again, this time at forty-one years old. I’m choosing to press on through knocking knees and clammy palms. Eyes looking in my direction. Smiling aunties. (Thank you, GOD, for smiling aunties).

Because I love art. Because I love community. I love story. I love that I get to be the good guy in this play and fight for a cause bigger than myself.

It’s all worth it. 

If you’re in the Iron Mountain area this weekend, come see our show. We’re doing it for ourselves and we’re doing it for you. The story you see on stage is one part of the whole — there is so much time, effort, energy and heart in every production. And probably some breathing into a paper sack.

We hope you like it. We hope it inspires you. And we hope it nudges you to be brave too.

“It takes a great deal of courage to stand alone.” – Juror Nine


View our promo video here:


Buy tickets here:


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