Every year for the past 16 years the University of Montevallo Theatre Department has an awards night called the Pammies, named for the secretary of the department, Ms. Pam. She is the backbone of the department and she keeps everything going. She is loving and nurturing to all of us. The actual award is a Barbie type doll, spray painted gold, hair and all. It is a fun night full of skits and songs and dance where everyone dresses up and gets together. Afterwards, the seniors are roasted and celebrated.

I wondered if it would be a time of serious awards or just gag awards. I also wondered if only seniors would get these awards or if anyone could. My son Jon thought maybe they would come up with an award to fit each student so no one felt left out like we used to do at the end of choir tour each summer.

As it turns out they had about 6 serious awards and then about 6 funnier awards that sort of fit the year. There are roughly 75- 80 theatre students so definitely there is not an award for everyone! A funny one for example was “best drag queen” or “best look in leather pants.” It just so happened that multiple shows had drag queens and leather pants (not necessarily drag queens wearing leather pants!) Anyway the 6 serious ones I can remember were best actress, best actor, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, one for best design (costume, lights, sets, whatever) and best new actor (only one for any first year student, girl or guy.)

The first award of the night was for the best new actor and the nominees were all very talented kids that I am very intimidated by. They are pretty (handsome) and very talented. I was shocked to hear my name mentioned with theirs. I was even more shocked to hear my name called out as the winner! I loudly said. “No way!” when they called my name. I looked around and said, “Seriously? Am I supposed to go up there?” It was the first award of the night and having never been to this before I wasn’t sure what the protocol was. To add to the turmoil in my head, I had on very high heels which I have not worn much lately due to all of the uneven bricks around campus. I had almost fallen twice already that night. Now I had to climb stairs onto the stage and then back down. I climbed up and received my “statuette” and hugged the MC’s. Logan, as one of the MC’s  said “acceptance speech is optional.” I had already been wondering, “Do I speak, should it be funny, serious, short, long?” I could just see me talking and then no one else saying a word. (These ARE theatre people, I should have known they would talk!) But I could just hear them later if I spoke and no one else did, “Well, we could have been drinking a long time ago if Marietta had kept her mouth shut!!”

So when Logan said a speech was optional my answer was “Good! I won’t be giving one!” and I walked carefully back down the steps. People laughed and applauded but later I really felt stupid listening to the sometimes heartfelt, sometimes hilarious speeches everyone else gave.

I thought about how I love these kids and how open and welcoming they have been to me. How complimentary they always are of everything I do and how sweet they are to me. I wish I had told them that. I wish I had made a joke about my age or the naked gold doll I had in my hand or anything. Instead I slunk off the stage like the “grumpy, old man” my son tells me I am sometimes.

All I can say now is that I am so honored, so touched and so shocked that they think I am half way decent at this acting thing and worthy of their time much less their award! I wish I had said “You like me- you really, really like me!!” I wish I could hug each one of them, although I hugged a lot of them after the show. And I wish I had stayed for the senior roast. I left because I really didn’t know who all was a senior and figured I would not know most of them. As it turns out I know and love them all. I once again did not know what to expect but it sounds like it was lots of fun. I also feel like an outsider a lot of the time so I thought getting on home to eat with my guys made more sense. As I made my long drive home I realized I may feel like an outsider but that is more about me than them- they have been welcoming and kind from the beginning. It has taken a gold painted, plastic, naked lady to show me that they think of  me as one of them. So again, I wish I could tell them all of this. Too bad no one reads my blog!

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Marietta is a graduate of the University of Montevallo with a BFA in musical theater. She has been performing for over 50 years on the stage and continues to perform, direct and teach. Marietta is married to Tim, has a son named Jon, and a cat named Penny.