I may be a different person five thousand times over then I was the last time I left, but I always get a bit nostalgic and sad when I see statuses of people starting to head to French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts.
I was only there for three short summers of my life, but it’s amazing how formative a place can be in such a tiny amount of time. It was the first place I ever felt I fit. Those 9 weeks became the life that was real, the rest just something to get through.
I’m no longer in the theatre world, to the point that I had to ask a friend the other day when the Tony Awards were after receiving an invitation to watch. But I’ll always have that inner theatre nerd inside.
I performed for the first time in a long while on Sunday. It wasn’t anything crazy, just a song in a backyard, but it felt like coming home. It was different though- I did it for fun and for passion, not because I had to. I’m glad I got out of theatre- it allowed me to have joy in a simple performance again, while still having a profession that I truly love.
French Woods really was the start and end to a lot of it all.
French Woods the last time I sang in a musical with my entire heart in it. I went to school for theatre for a year and a half, but FWF was the last place I ever felt that spark that only a standing ovation after a solo can bring.
The thing that most people don’t know is that French Woods was the first place I ever picked up a camera as a photographer. Just for 3 weeks, but it was that little bug that made me think of picking up one for a class. And that class is what made me apply for my school’s newspaper. And that newspaper made me fall in love with journalism, which is now my career.
It’s all a circle, in the end. Everything comes back to everything.
So, circling back, thanks FWF, for making me the person I am today.
Here’s to pelting boys who scammed on girls with water ballons, quiet moments riding horses through a meadow, 4am cast lists that were heartbreaks, and 4am cast lists that were moments of exultation. To Theater Potpourri with Kim Noel, to Comedia del Arte, to crazy costume ladies, to crazier choreographers. To Rocky Horror night, to sneaking out of canteen, to running away from golf carts in the middle of the night, to getting caught anyway and wearing your ETB with pride. To making up your own minor with friends, to “individual study,” to the guy who kept trying to make us play sports.
To blackouts happening mid live performance, to proving the doubters (and yourself) wrong, to looking up at the crowd after finishing a solo to realize that my friends, campers and parents were in the front row moved to tears.
To innocence. To passion. To love.
I know I may never go back there again. I don’t know if I have a place there anymore. But it will truly always be a place I consider home.