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Fiona Huang

Hey! I am a 7th-grade student in the U.S. I love the performing arts, visual arts, and literature. When I am not performing in a play or a musical, you can always find me either drawing or with my nose stuck in a book. During these past few years, I have constantly been writing papers due for school and have not been able to write under more relaxing and fun circumstances. However recently, I have found some leisure time and rediscovered my passion for writing. I hope you all enjoy my stories!

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Discovering Myself in a Musical

May 31, 2018 1 year ago

Have you ever tried to imagine being someone else? Two summers ago, when I was 11 years old, I auditioned for a role in Yellow Fever, the Musical. I was absolutely thrilled to be cast as a Korean mother of two who survived the Korean War and lived through hunger and poverty. This was the first time I was part of the main cast and played such an important role. I was anxious but ready to fully commit and put in the maximum amount of effort to perform well in the musical. During that four week period in the Summer of 2016, I learned about the reality of the world around me, realized the importance of teamwork, and discovered the connection between the story and my heritage. This entire experience encouraged me to grow and has changed the way I view the world. The knowledge I gained during the musical program gave me a deeper insight into what it must have been like to live in a war-torn society, struggling with poverty and hunger. To understand my character, I did a lot of research on the history of the Korean War and Korean culture. I read the script over again and again, not just to memorize my lines but to understand the story I was going to tell. I got to visualize myself in her world, and fully immerse myself in the story. Over time, I became more familiar with the complexity of the role as I gained an understanding of the reasons that led to the many ideals and expectations she created for her children. One winter night my character was trembling in the cold weather and her stomach was growling. When she saw bread coming fresh out of the oven, she couldn't help but grab a piece and run. She had no other choice but to steal a small piece of warm bread in order to survive. This made me realize how I was so ignorant of the struggles around the world. The more I learned the more empathetic I became towards my character. In addition to the hardships of war, my character still nurtured hopes for a brighter future. Therefore, she came to America to provide better opportunities for her children despite the struggles to fit in a foreign culture. Along my journey of understanding the story as well as self-discovery, my ambitious cast pushed me even further. My peers, who had been in this program much longer than me, were all very supportive and allowed me to flourish in the new environment. Even though there were some long days, I had so much fun with my cast while we worked towards a common goal. Since that was my first year there, their will motivated me to become the best of myself. I connected with many teachers and directors, consulting them on how to become a better performer and how to better act out my role. Their advice had brought me a long way and in the limited amounts of time I was there, I was able to deeply bond with many people. There was this one time during our lunch break that our entire cast sat around the table and discussed what we wanted the audience to get from the show. We shared our ideas and laid out a plan. We even stayed connected after camp hours just to map out the play and rehearse lines. During that time, I really saw how far our teamwork had brought us. Without everyone's cooperation, the show would not have been as successful or as memorable as it is now. The entire experience inspired me to give my all into the things I am passionate about and to never lose that light of hope even in difficult situations. As I dug deeper into the story, I realized how close it all hit home and the connection between the musical production and my own heritage. Before rehearsing for this musical, I had never truly appreciated the struggles my own family had to face. My grandmother also lived through a similar situation. She grew up in the time of the Cultural Revolution in China and many opportunities were taken from her. When I was seven years old, my grandmother told me a story about her life as a teenager. She had to work in order to help feed herself and her family, working at the train station, selling cargo labels. She told me how hard it was working twelve and more hours each day, running from dawn to night trying to get customers to buy her labels. She also had to outrace other hungry children which made the job even more exhausting. This story is very inspiring and motivational for me and after I was able to better understand it, I gained a deeper admiration for my grandmother and realized how fortunate I am today. My grandmother's experience enabled me to feel the determination to survive. I was able to apply those emotions to my character, which ultimately improved my performance. Before the four week musical program, I would have never discovered so much about the reality of the world, the power of teamwork, nor the truth about my own heritage. I know the skills that I developed during this period will continue to serve me well. This experience has helped me to build values that I will cherish for the rest of my life and it has become an essential part of who I am becoming.

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