NPR : News

I Died On The Titanic

I died on the Titanic — in the musical, that is. Titanic opened on Broadway in 1997 and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

My small California middle school performed the show in grand fashion. Goodness knows why it hadn't been done before at the school, but the curtains rose on our stage in February 2002.

Thanks to the local community theater, my friends and I were in many musicals growing up. I was an orphan twice — in Oliver and Annie — a dancing yellow brick in The Wiz, the baroness in The Sound of Music and a less-than-ladylike secretary in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

But this was my first drowning victim.

The musical was "horrible," according to my parents. Not for lack of talent, of course. Rather, it was sort of depressing watching a bunch of children re-enact this horrific event.

We had a hydraulic stage that literally rose on one side to simulate the sinking ship while dramatic music played in the background. In many a rehearsal, we practiced rolling down it (to our deaths).

The real kicker was the end of the show, in which all of us who died sang a haunting song from our watery grave. We were not the lucky ones.

I remember my eighth-grade self really trying to get into the part. We were not playing fictional characters, arms spread over the bow. This musical was based on the lives of real people. We were acting out their personal lives, hopes and dreams. And their tragic deaths. It was, well, creepy.

On the bright side, my mom notes, I got to wear a fabulous period-style hat.

In a school newsletter in May 2002, one student conveyed how it felt to be ending such a masterpiece.

"Usually when a play is over, I say goodbye to my friends. In this play, I said goodbye to everyone, as we became so close in our sailing on the Titanic."

Dana Farrington is a producer and weekend editor for NPR.org.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Jack Davis, Cartoonist Who Helped Found 'Mad' Magazine, Dies

Money from a job illustrating a Coca-Cola training manual became a springboard for Jack Davis to move from Georgia to New York.
NPR

Cookie Dough Blues: How E. Coli Is Sneaking Into Our Forbidden Snack

Most people know not to eat raw cookie dough. But now it's serious: 46 people have now been sickened with E. coli-tainted flour. Here's how contamination might be occurring.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour – LIVE from Slim's Diner!

This special edition of the Politics Hour is coming to you live from Slim's Diner from Petworth in Northwest D.C.

NPR

Writing Data Onto Single Atoms, Scientists Store The Longest Text Yet

With atomic memory technology, little patterns of atoms can be arranged to represent English characters, fitting the content of more than a billion books onto the surface of a stamp.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.