One of my favorite of many great moments in Appleton North’s production of Shrek happens after the curtain call.
That’s when the whole jubilant cast bursts into Neil Diamond’s “I’m a Believer.”
Watch them all — chorus members, fairytale creatures and leads — dance and sing with such unfettered joy and contagious confidence and know that their gifted director once again has made believers of them all.
That’s high school’s biggest trick. The believing.
You can coach the dance, encourage the pitch, recite the lines and drill the marks, but you haven’t succeeded, really, until you’ve inspired the belief.
Belief straightens the spine, lifts the chin, and brightens the eyes long after the applause fades away.
Believe in the program, believe in the story, believe in the script but, more than anything, believe in yourself.
Esteem, not eminence, inspires all kinds of volunteers — the sewers and sellers, painters and builders, engineers and photographers — to give up countless hours behind the scenes.
The end game is self-confidence and the belief that if you can be a dragon, stand on stilts, breathe fire, belt a song and literally spread your wings for the run of a high school show, then you can be anything after it as well.
I’ve seen Shrek and I’m a believer in every single member of that cast, crew and pit orchestra, without a trace of doubt in my mind.