Wednesday 3:00 p.m. I drowsily trudge into the auditorium. My eyelids droop shut as I’m hit by a blast of music: hammering drums, screaming guitars and a singer belting a high note on stage. As this sound wave crashes over me, my exhaustion is wiped away. I have a full-on adrenaline rush.
So begins the fourth and final day of Talent Show “hell week.” It’s completely dark in the auditorium except for the lights on stage, and as I feel my way around the seats using my phone as a flashlight, I spot my friends watching the show a few rows down.
I join them and enjoy seeing the different acts until I realize that I’m up next. I scramble to set up my violin and run backstage, all the while trying to avoid tripping over a guitar case hidden in the pitch black.
As my act begins, purple spotlights beat down across the stage, making the experience feel professional and invigorating. I play my part on violin, pausing to think about how amazing this experience is: I’m playing music with friends—nothing unusual in itself—but this time, I’m on stage.
As I snap out of my thoughts, I’m shocked to realize that I’m dancing, which is something I usually don’t do even just around friends. I let myself sway to the beat and enjoy the music, which reflects the power that hell week has over me—I’m able to dance and not worry about how silly I look.
I experience two hell weeks each year—one for the musical and one for Talent Show, and they’re some of my favorite days. I love Talent Show hell week because spending six hours each day with a large group of musically and theatrically talented people makes the auditorium the ultimate place to socialize.
Of course I don’t know everyone involved, but a lot of the people around I’ve met in previous shows or are new friends I’ve just started talking to.
After dinner from Moby Dick, we run the second act of the show. Once I’m done playing, I find a group of friends and we take laps around the empty school, laughing and talking along the way.
I try not to think about the homework that I’ll have to do when I get home. While I realize that I need to maintain my grades, it’s also hard to resist spending time with friends even if I should be working. I know that I will probably fall asleep with my head resting on my calculus textbook, and have accepted that I will be up absurdly late.
As I continue walking with friends I decide that the intensity of the week can be overwhelming, but the fun aspect never fails to show through.