Opening Night

a personal essay by Celeste Maynard

It was the day I had been dreading (and anticipating) since I was told I was going to be a river kid (one of the main roles) in this year's River Clyde Pageant. It was opening night. I had been practicing almost every day for two months to memorize eight scenes and three songs yet it still didn’t feel like long enough. Nervously reciting lines in my head, I got in the car and we headed to New Glasgow where the traveling performance was to take place on the bank of the river. Almost immediately I started rambling, saying things like “I’m going to mess up” and “We are all going to die” in typical nervous Celeste fashion. My brother, playing the part of a troll, kept telling me to shut up which I did, eventually. Before I knew it we were at the church.

The church was, as usual, a whirlwind of activity as herons and water spirits applied makeup, foxes pinned on tails and our directors, Megan, Ker and Jane, were trying to organize everyone. A quick line run and choir practice later we set off to the Gardens of Hope to do warm ups and greet the audience. Joe and Eiffie ( the other river kids ) seemed just as nervous as I was as we played theatre games such as Hep Hep Bang. We did a cheer and then it was time to go up the hill to direct the audience. As we were waiting, we discussed the life span of jellyfish and rambled nervously. We directed the huge (around 150 people) crowd down the hill and then the foxes jumped out of the bushes. That was our cue to go. We ran down the hill singing and all eyes were on us. It was now or never.

Fiona, Celeste & Joe run down the hill at the beginning of Wake the River Clyde, 2017

Fiona, Celeste & Joe run down the hill at the beginning of Wake the River Clyde, 2017

The scenes seemed to blur together, the troutlets, the farmer and the mermaid, the herons and the crow, the trolls, more mermaids and suddenly we were taking our bows. Everyone was celebrating. We made a beeline towards the food knowing it would be gone in no time. All the kids sat on the damp ground behind The Mill and ate. Then we ran around laughing like lunatics, climbed trees and played cards until long after dark. People trickled away until it was just my mom, Ker, Megan, a few other cast members and myself. These people were now like my second family. We bid them goodbye and we headed home knowing that tomorrow we would do it all over again.

Celeste performed as a River Kid in the 2017 River Clyde Pageant, and as a Crankie Kid in 2016.

If you have a story to share about your Pageant experience, let us know!