by Thomas Biamonte
I watched with glee from my creaky chair in the school six auditorium as I saw magic come alive! Peter Pan flew and fairies were real all for a moment. I then thought to myself, “Wait, I saw Captain Hook in the halls the other day. Isn’t he in fifth grade?” At that moment I came to a realization that “playing pretend” could be done professionally. From then on, all I wanted to do was to get on a stage and make an audience feel something. So, in both elementary and middle school, I did just that!
While I did not know my upstage from my downstage, I could still get a laugh from the audience and that’s all that mattered in my young mind. The best part about theatre in those early years was the sense of community and bond with my fellow classmates. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse when I entered the world of high school theatre. The upperclassmen during my freshman year were extremely clicky and treated every audition as if it was life or death. Overall, it did not feel like a welcoming environment to me – not to mention the pandemic sweeping in and taking two years of theatre away from us. But once the dust settled and the pandemic was under control, we realized that we were now the upperclassmen and we held the power. The community transformed into an extremely welcoming place where we could all share our art together without judgment from our fellow Thespians or the outside world.
During my Freshman year, only one or two senior boys ever attempted to speak to me. Now, as upperclassmen, we make a point to go up to each freshman with open arms and answer any and all questions they may have. They are the future of an artform we love so much! Our senior class group of Thespians have been glued together through the countless hardships and friendships we have encountered over the years, and I am so proud of how far we have come not only as adults coming of age in this changing and modern world but also as artists who are able to experiment and work together. Us actors at OHS really just get each other – there’s not much else I can say!
I cannot talk about my life and the change in OHS theatre without acknowledging those who added fuel to the already burning fire of passion we all had for the creative arts. Firstly, Mrs. Gallo, my acting teacher, who has helped me discover my passions for both acting and directing for which I am extremely thankful. Secondly, Ms. Taplin was my other acting teacher for a good year or so. I could say I am “passionate for the arts” all day, but it is nonsense compared to the true and unmatched passion of Ms. Taplin. Ms. Taplin is what every teacher should aspire to be – extremely caring and nurturing not only when it comes to the subject but also when it comes to the deep and personal connection between student and teacher.
Both Mrs. Gallo and Ms. Taplin have taught me nearly everything I know about acting, creative storytelling, and theatre. I believe they have set me down a path that will carry me to a future filled with creativity and a better understanding of our modern world and how we act as people. If I have learned anything from being a Thespian and student of the arts here at OHS, it is that we should never stop learning! The second we think we have learned it all is the second we move toward the way of the Dodo. The famous Steven Spielberg says he views every creative endeavor as a chance to learn from his peers. I think that if we all went through our lives with that mindset, we would be a way happier group of people.