The WOU Drag Show has been my best and most favorite experience at WOU by far. Two years ago around this time, I was but a wee freshman trying to figure out who I was. My identity as a friend, daughter, partner, student, and overall person was all up in the air at that point. I was living in the American Sign Language hall in Ackerman and felt as happy as I had ever been in a really long time — but there was still something missing. To be honest, I knew what was missing, but for the longest time (and I mean longest time because I’m talking like since pre-K) I didn’t want to admit to myself what that was.
I was missing a community that accepted the sexual orientation that I had just started accepting. I felt alone in that way and didn’t really trust anyone in my hall enough to tell them. Don’t get me wrong, they were all really great people and the friends that I loved hanging out with everyday, but something this big to me couldn’t be shared over a board game night of UNO and Monopoly. I desperately needed something more.
As a super involved freshman, I went to every single event I heard about because I was always looking for more fun. I was in the WUC a lot so it was easy to find events to go to. On the Monday back from spring break I noticed a bunch of people surrounding one table in the WUC. They were selling tickets to a drag show called Out of Pandora’s Box. A couple of friends and I decided to buy a ticket because I loved Greek Mythology and this looked interesting. Besides, they were only $5 a ticket! Later that day, I found out that they had sold out. It’s a good thing I bought a ticket that day because I didn’t realize how important it would be in my life.
Fast forward to sitting in the theater with the show about to start, I began to get really fired up. The theater was packed and the crowd was bursting at the seams with excitement. As soon as a person walked onto the stage, the crowd went wild. The level of entertainment the show brought to me was probably more than any play, musical, concert, or anything else had ever brought to me. The show had my kind of humor and raunchiness so I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to audition next year. Not to mention they slyly snuck in education about drag shows, the LGBTQ+ community, and the importance of consent into the narration. This was definitely what I was looking for and waiting for through my journey of self-discovery.
I couldn’t stop thinking of the drag show after that. I told my friends that I was interested in auditioning for next year’s drag show but I wasn’t sure. I’m laughing now because that was a total lie as I knew I was going to audition no matter what. I started going to Triangle Alliance meetings and attending events that the Stonewall Center put on. I drank in all this information about the LGBTQ+ community that I had no idea about before.
Finally, I heard news about auditions for the next drag show called Pirates of the Queeribbean. I was super
nervous because I didn’t know how to dance. My new friends calmed me down by saying that I didn’t need to know how to dance to be in the drag show. I just needed a great personality and fun attitude. That advice definitely worked because the next day I got a call back saying that I was in the drag show!
From then on it was all new, fun, and exciting experiences. I was learning how to be a drag king! That means I express with a masculine personality, wear masculine clothing, and personify extreme masculinity. Throughout winter term, I looked forward to rehearsal every night. It became my stress reliever when I needed a break from school work and other worries.
I was in 11 of the songs in the show, so I was busy showing up to rehearsal every night making sure I got the dances down. We were all dancing as pirates supporting the plot of lead character, Captain Quinn Morgan, who was figuring out their own gender identity throughout the show. I became more and more nervous and ready as show day was approaching.
The day we got to perform on stage in front of hundreds of people was such a nerve-wracking day in all the ways possible. I was way too overstimulated and needed to calm myself down in order to remember all the dances. I remembered how I felt being in the audience just one year before and how excited I was to see the show. I could see that same excitement from the crowd as we stepped on stage to do the opening number. From there on it was pretty much a blur of having so much fun that I didn’t even know if I did the dances correctly (after watching the DVD containing the whole drag show, I did, in fact, not screw up).
The memories that I made throughout those four months connecting with people, realizing I could possibly dance okay, and feeling more self-confident than I had been in a really long time were all I needed to make my college experience complete.
Just kidding! My college experience isn’t anywhere near complete, so of course I auditioned for the next drag show. This time though, I was going to audition to be a featured character. Bring us to present day and it happened! I’ll be playing Jack of Clubs in this year’s drag show titled Ace in Wonderland. I would tell you more about my character and the plot, but you’ll have to see the show to find out!
The show opens tonight and closes tomorrow. Tickets are sold out for tomorrow but if you can see the show today, tickets are selling in the WUC for $5 until 3 p.m. and will also be sold at the door. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to see a show you probably have never seen anything like before (unless you’ve been to a previous WOU Drag Show of course). If you enjoy it and think that it’s something you might want to try, I encourage you to audition!
We accept all kinds of people and just because drag shows are typically put on by LGBTQ+ organizations doesn’t mean you have to identify as part of the community. Really, anyone is welcome to try out! I promise you’ll make lifelong friends and have the time of your life. I know I sure did.