"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."

Though this cannot be denied, Monsieur Shakespeare, for me, the stage is my world. Onstage, there are no such things as Draconian teachers or shudder-inducing grades or parents pushing and shouting or backstabbing friends or broken hearts; none of these exist unless it is scripted.

In one of those chance moments when the auditorium is empty and the creaky seats are silent and the lights beam upon the hardwood, it is only the stage and I—if I venture out from the curtained backstage and into the light, the stage will pull me to another time, another place, and for a fleeting moment, all cares are cast to the side.

One step forward, arms spread like wings, a flowing twirl, eyes closed against the light, and I am in a different world. I am a Cockney flower girl transformed into a Hungarian princess. I am a captain's daughter of sixteen, going on seventeen, about to receive my first kiss in a glass gazebo. I am the tutor of the king of Siam's numerous children. I am a young soprano succumbing to the music of the night. I am a Jewish girl of Russia, hoping the matchmaker can make me a match. I am a wildly alive immigrant extolling the virtues of America, blissfully unaware that America is about to rip her lover from her.

But most importantly, I am no longer me.