To Whom It May Concern,
I first met Angela when I was directing a production at the Phipps Center for the Arts. Angela attended rehearsals with her mom, Leah. Leah was the dog owner/trainer for the dog in the production. Angela became an immediate favorite of everyone in the cast. She had a sincere delight for every rehearsal she watched. She knew all the music and knew every character by name. With 55 in this production that was no easy task. She was always quick with a smile and a greeting as people arrived and when they left for the night. I was impressed with the genuine kindness and friendship that she gave to all. I often wondered if she would become tired of watching the rehearsal night after night. But her behavior was exemplary. Her enthusiasm was contagious and she became an intricate part to the production staff. After 8 weeks of rehearsal and 4 weeks of performances the production came to an end.
At the time I was also the Executive Director for the SOS Players, Inc. We had recently added a new company of younger children. I asked Leah to bring Angela to an audition. I saw this as a perfect match and hoped it would give Angela a chance to not only support a cast, but be on stage herself. I knew she had a strong desire to be an actor. I thought SOS could help her achieve her dream. Angela was the perfect match. I was excited to see her blossom and grow under the direction of the SOS Artistic Staff and interns. Each child in the company works on their own monologue for a performance at the end of the year. Not being to sure what Angela’s abilities would be, I asked her mom to write a monologue for her daughter. She wrote a monologue on the story of Angela’s birth. It was a beautifully written, simple story that brought tears to everyone, every time Angela presented the piece. Our academic intern had a special connection with Angela. He knew her from the earlier production but also grew up with an older brother who had special needs. There was an instant trust between these two. So to make Angela’s first experience on stage positive, we put our intern on stage, and he told the story with Angela. I have been involved in theatre for over 30 years and never in my life have I seen such a moving performance. Yes, every adult in the theatre had tears in their eyes but every child (age 6-12) understood how special this moment was. It was a big moment for Angela as she jumped up and down with her success and hugged the intern at the end of the story. Did Angela achieve her dream of being on stage? Absolutely. But the real gift that night was what Angela gave to us. This young girl in a short presentation taught us all about compassion, understanding and that if you are positive and work hard anyone can achieve their dreams.
Angela continues on with SOS and we look for her every Thursday.