A bow in her hair and a blue outfit, slightly resembling the outfit of the character she wanted to play, Katie Meldrum nervously auditioned, hoping to be cast as the lead. She had prepared for this moment for weeks now but during auditions, as the director stared her down, she felt less than confident that she would get the role she wanted.
However, to her surprise, Meldrum, an upcoming freshman at BYU-Idaho studying theater performance, was cast as Belle for “Beauty and the Beast” at Skyline High School in Idaho Falls. For Meldrum, it was a dream come true.
“Growing up, Belle was my favorite princess,” Meldrum said. “People always told me I looked like her. I even had dreams of being a princess at Disneyland one day.”
Being Meldrum’s first play, she was thrilled about the opportunity and the experiences to come.
After four months of rehearsals, Meldrum was ecstatic to finally share her hard work with her friends, family and the rest of the community. However, on March 12, just one day before opening night, the play was canceled due to the coronavirus.
“We were all devastated,” Meldrum said. “They didn’t warn our director they were going to cancel it. I found out during rehearsals from a text message that my mom sent me, saying she received an email that the play was canceled. Everyone else started to get texts from their parents, too.”
They decided to fight for the chance to perform, even if it meant masks had to be worn, or any other precautions had to be made.
“One of the cast members started a petition online,” she said. “We even started to email the superintendent so much that he finally agreed to meet with us.”
Despite their best efforts, their hopes to save the play were rejected. Initially, they were told the play was just being postponed. However, no one felt they would actually get the chance to perform in front of a live audience this time around. Just recently, on May 1, the play was officially canceled.
“We were still given the opportunity to have the play recorded, so we got together and gave it our all,” Meldrum said. “We plan to watch the recording together once we get it back.”
Even though the play didn’t turn out the way she had planned, given the opportunity, Meldrum would do it all over again.
“Because this play was open to the district, I met people I never would have known otherwise, and they are some of my best friends now,” she said. “I used to be uncomfortable with my voice and now I am comfortable with it. I now have a different mindset about my skills.”
This experience also helped her learn how to handle challenging circumstances when things don’t turn out as expected.
“I learned that when you work hard for something and life slaps you in the face, you just have to band together with your friends and get what you can out of it,” Meldrum said.