The Journey of Elle Woods

Abigail Holland, Guest Writer

On joining Pingree’s Theatre,  I didn’t have one of those magic discoveries about my love for performing – I have always loved theater. However, Pingree Theatre has taught me something that is perhaps more important than discovering the love of performing.

Before Pingree I always saw theatre as a competition. My past theatre experiences were filled with people vying and fighting for the same roles and then gossiping about people behind their backs after the cast lists were posted. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the performing aspects of theatre, but the vibe I got from the community didn’t feel right. One of the reasons that I chose to go to Pingree for high school was the sense of community that I felt during my revisit day. I was ecstatic to experience this same feeling on my first day of freshman year and even more excited when I felt it in November 2015 for my first Pingree musical. Immediately I was not just a freshman nor a new competition to overcome; the older kids welcomed me and my friends and encouraged us to take risks and be confident.

As the years went on I found myself learning to take on the role of the older kid encouraging the nervous freshmen. After all, I was one of them and I knew exactly how it felt. Gone were the constant pressures to be better than everyone else; I was now part of a group of people that encouraged you to try new things and cheered for you when you did well. I have done the musical all four years of high school and I cannot imagine it any other way. The best part was the uniqueness of each year. My freshman year we did Get Real, an original musical written by the Pingree Arts Department. This gave me the opportunity to create my own character and decide how I wanted to portray it, which I found really cool. My sophomore year we did Bring It On: The Musical and I was a featured singer, which meant that I got to have solos in a plethora of group numbers and experience being part of the theatre’s ensemble. My junior year we did Pirates of Penzance and I played Edith. I liked Pirates a lot because it is a comic opera, which is unlike any production I’d ever done before.

Finally, my favorite production I’ve done at Pingree was our production of Legally Blonde: The Musical this past year – my senior year and last year with Pingree Theatre – and I played Elle Woods. Although I adored playing the lead and getting to put my own spin on an iconic character, my favorite part about Legally Blonde was that all my friends had important parts too, so we got to spend a bunch of time together. After the opening night of the show people kept coming up to me and saying, “You really looked like you were having so much fun up there!”, which was completely true. The absolute best part about theatre is finally getting to perform a piece you have been working so hard on with all your friends for your other friends and family to watch.

In the end, the biggest lesson I’ve learned at Pingree is that theatre is not about competition. The only thing to be “won” is an indescribable experience with people who care about you and want you to succeed. Each production you do is a completely different experience and when you make the most of it, you will look back on it as one of the most meaningful experiences of your youth.