If you’ve joined us for a performance of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, you are well aware of the “volunteer” component of the piece. Four lucky, brave souls share stage time with Commonweal professionals to add combatants to the field and a whole lot of fun and laughter. Recently, Commonweal MDC member Kevin Kelleher tested the waters of the professional theatre stage by throwing his hat into the ring of volunteers. In this edition of Drama Unfolds, Kevin relives his debut.
Make Your Professional Theatre Debut
by Kevin Kelleher
My friend Brian was the instigator. “When you go to The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Commonweal just tell them you want to volunteer,” he said. “You’ll get to go on stage and be a part of the crowd,” he said. So, I volunteered! Up to the stage I go thinking I’d just be sitting there watching the action from the inside. Well, think again! The first thing I noticed was how dark the audience was, I could only make out the first couple of rows. When the actor/actress sitting next to me whispered “just follow my lead and everything will be alright,” I knew I was in for a more active time than I anticipated. My thoughts about how I should act quickly dissipated as the action on stage kept my full attention. When asked to spell bridge, I was afraid I’d blow it but it came out right. As the last “volunteer” left on the stage, I knew my time was going to end shortly. I made it through a word I’d never heard of but then the word their or perhaps there or maybe it was they’re, proved to be my Waterloo. Being escorted back to my seat falling into my friend’s arms pretending to be crushed thus ended my professional acting career. Thankfully for the audience and myself, I can now take that off my bucket list! The night was simply good fun and a learning experience to boot. Thanks for my professional live theatre debut, Commonweal!