Little Shop of Memories

Puerto Rico Backstage lights are off. A rainbow of red lights fills the stage. A bottle of Vicks VapoRub lays in the middle of the stage surrounded by nervous faces desperately breathing it in. The sound of “nuñeda” echoes throughout the theater and the green room. As soundcheck begins, actors begin to sing in tune to “I found a tulip in the yard.” Butterflies begin to dance in everyone’s stomach, anxious to begin. All the memories of each moment of spent together run like a faucet that can’t close: the months of practicing songs to then finding out the words to the Finale were “Though they’re slopping the trough for you” not “something they draw for you”; going to the music room to practice; celebrating each time we got the dance right; to scavenging the food left in the green room. 

  To think it was not supposed to be this way. In the past years, I was the makeup and hair director for other functions like Beauty and the Beast and Annie. This year, Elizabeth Santana had approached me to be the assistant director for this year’s production, Little Shop of Horrors. Though I never truly saw myself as an assistant director, the idea of learning how to make the right decisions, to complete a vision for the show became more than just another enchanting dream. Around the third week in, I was helping Elizabeth create chats with everyone in the play, and basically trying to keep everything in check. Around the 6th week of production, there was a fifth Gospel Girl needed for the play. When Patricia and Mara approached me to see if I could fill in, I was struck with questions. I had no idea what I needed to do, how I was supposed to act, how to sing high notes while twisting and turning – you name it-  but I said yes. 

 It took some time to get to learn the songs and ironically, the dances were the easiest to learn. Though everyone felt like a fool in some scenes, it was an unimaginable experience that came out amazing. I gained perspective and respect for everyone who would sincerely try to be better and left it all on the stage. The show was meant to break the mold of past musicals, and it didn’t just break a mold but challenged the way many, including myself, saw the theater. For anyone thinking of joining the show next year as a makeup artist, an extra or a composer, it is worth the challenge. It will become more than a role, it will become part of your life story.