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Jan 26, 2014

Well, that’s a wrap.  Shrek’s all done, and for me CSOPA’s all done.  But to be honest, as sad as it is, I’m ready.  I think after A Year with Frog and Toad I didn’t feel like my time at CSOPA was over but now I do.  And that’s not at all because I don’t love it as much as I did before or because I don’t feel as connected with the cast.  I have no regrets about coming back to CSOPA because even though it’s hard leaving, I know now that I’m ready for the next part of my life.

First of all, I just want to say how much I love this cast.  Seriously.  I feel a little mama-bear protective of them so if they tell me their problems I want to just hug them all and kick anybody who hurts them.  But at the same time, I feel like really good friends with all of them.  Even though the age difference is pretty big between some of us I still feel like they’re just my friends.  It’s great to have that relationship with so many lovely people and I’m going to miss them all so much and the fact that I can’t see them at least twice a week now is actually so horrible to think.  I don’t know how to explain it but there’s something about theatre that just completely connects the two most opposite people and creates relationships that would not have been there in a different setting.  It brings all cliques together to form a family.  Tonight was hard because I really thought I was going to cry during the show and I didn’t, and then Andrew told us we weren’t allowed to cry until we got to CSOPA (which makes sense), so I sucked it up and then I got to CSOPA and I was like “man I’m rocking this.  I’m totally not going to cry.  I can make it without shedding one tear.”  And then freaking Kirsten started crying and then Avianna and then Olivia and then they hugged me and I just started bawling.  And like… I’m supposed to be the big strong adult one but seriously…  I was a mess.  Apologies.  Surprisingly it turned into a huge hugging and crying circle which was great.  Honestly such a great group of people.

Next, I’d like to say a thank you to Andrew, Shelley, Lisa, Lisa, and AnneLise.  Firstly, Annelise, you are just a rockstar.  The amount of time you put into CSOPA is ridiculous.  You don’t take anybody’s crap and that’s how CSOPA stays running so smoothly.  You’re such a sweetheart and care about everybody and you’re literally like CSOPA’s mom.  So thank you.  Lisa Braun.  Thank you.  Thank you for everything.  Thank you for opening yourself up to everybody and taking care of all of us whenever we were even slightly lower than we usually are.  Everyone loves you so much and you always put people before yourself which is why we got you what we got you for your present.  Take a couple days (or weeks) to relax, drink that coffee out of that mug, have a bubble bath and read that book.  You deserve it.  Lisa Zimmer, wow.  I didn’t really know what to expect coming into Shrek because I had only worked with you once before.  But honestly, you are so great.  You’re such a lovely person and yet know when to be hard on us to get us to reach our full potential.  You really helped me improve in my voice this year and I thank you greatly.  You were an absolute pleasure to work with and you always had a smile which made rehearsals even that much better.  Shelley.  Well girl.  I’ve worked with you for a decade now.  I know for you it must be weird / cool to see me go from grade four to university.  But for me, it’s to see how much our relationship has changed over those years.  It started out with me probably being the annoying little kid with no talent and way too much energy.  Then it went to you helping me choreograph my little dance to “Can you Feel the Love Tonight?” from Lion King with my cardboard set I did myself.  Then when we sang the song from Next to Normal for festival and then we started working together.  I don’t know how else to explain it but it’s been lovely to have you in my life.  Thank you.  And Andrew, you suck… but it’s okay because we accept that.  Also, I love the relationship you build with your cast members.  I mean to be able to make fun of us, and us to make fun of you, and us wanting to punch you and yet all of us totally care for you and vice versa is really nice.  You’re a great combination of friend and instructor because you never let the friendship get in the way of us growing as a performer and you never let the instructing get in the way of us growing as people.  I can’t even begin to thank you for all you’ve done for me in the past ten years.  But thanks.

Finally, to CSOPA in general and to anybody interested in joining CSOPA: it’s amazing.  Really… it changed my life.  I have many other great aspects in my life – my family and my schooling and such…  But seriously… CSOPA has been a part of my life through all my major changes so far.  Grade four to university and it’s just crazy.  You know how some people have food or girlfriends or tv shows to get them through difficult times?  I have CSOPA.  CSOPA was the thing that made me feel better when I went through personal troubles.  CSOPA made me feel better when friends and dogs passed away.  I don’t know how else to explain it but when everything is going wrong, it suddenly goes right when I get to CSOPA.  It’s helped me grow as a person and a performer.  It’s helped me with self-confidence and relationships and basically every aspect of life thinkable.  I’m probably going to start crying again if I continue writing this blog but seriously.  So much love to the cast members.  So much love to the directors.  So much love to this wonderful school that builds people up in every way possible.  I cannot even begin to imagine how different my life would be if I didn’t find theatre and didn’t find CSOPA.

Love always,

A bawling Brittany and a finished Fiona