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Author’s Note: This poem is quite personal to me, as it highlights many of my experiences in musical theatre as a teen. In fact, I chose to reference specific musicals I was in (e.g., I played the witch in a production of Into the Woods). As a young adult trying desperately to find a sense of identity and build self-confidence, theatre helped me immensely by allowing me to take on roles larger than life. The more comfortable I got on stage, the more comfortable I became with myself. In this poem, I tried to capture all the feelings of being a young actor, from the anticipation to the nerves to the joy of performing.

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A palpable suspension of disbelief
audience of skeptics enthralled beyond conscience
façade in foundation, shade: too light.
beauty mark drawn high on a supple cheek
A trill of a piccolo and—
My cue.

This is what I live for.

Left wing. Downstage. Head high. Smile bright.
Stand. Deliver. Pace with purpose.
A punchline landed a thousand times in rehearsal,
punctuated with rich laughter for the first time;
a flickering triumph as I listen

This is what I live for.

A fly comes down—it’s the roaring 20s
Underground speakeasy upstage of bar stools
I am the bee’s knees, the cat’s meow
Giggle juice in hand, fringe dress a-flutter
A glistening sheen of sweat as I Charleston

This is what I live for.

The fog whirls in—it’s a Sondheim fairy-tale
Enchanted forest of burlap plagued with tragedy
I am the bringer of evil, conjurer of curses
Hunched in all black, deceptively frail
A menacing scowl as I beguile

This is what I live for.

The curtains drape. It’s over.
Local theatre dimly lit, upholstered in red velvet
I am your daughter, your friend, your demure student
Swelling with emotion a stage cannot contain
An unfaltering smile as I bow

This is what I live for.

Abitha Suthakaran

About Abitha Suthakaran

Born and raised in the city of Markham, Abitha is currently an undergraduate student attending the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. Abitha discovered her knack for words at a very young age, much to the annoyance of her parents and peers. Despite her goal to pursue pathology in the future, Abitha thoroughly enjoys writing poetry and non-fiction essays in her free time. Alternatively, she can be found performing in theatre and acapella performances around Ontario.

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