Oak Harbor resident Megan LeMay has always been a busy body.
Interests have come and gone while growing up, often quickly, so she feels as if she’s regularly trying her hand at something new.
Yet, what the 19-year-old LeMay has gotten herself into this time is her biggest juggling act thus far: performing roles in two separate productions at the same time.
“There are moments when I suddenly realize that I might be in over my head, but I’ve always been this way, I’ve always had a lot going on,” LeMay said. “I definitely have those moments and it usually takes my mom, friends or family to rein me in and tell me to take a deep breath.”
LeMay has roles in Whidbey Island Dance Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” as well as “Peter and the Starcatcher,” presented by Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (WICA). The two Langley productions are running at the same time — quite literally. Although “Peter and the Starcatcher” premiered Dec. 1, both productions will run this weekend before wrapping up the following weekend.
It’s not just the performance dates that run concurrently. On Friday and Saturday nights except Saturday Dec. 9, “The Nutcracker” performance begins at 7 p.m at South Whidbey High School. That puts LeMay in a pickle, as WICA draws the curtains for “Peter and the Starcatcher” only 30 minutes later. Sunday matinee shows aren’t any easier for her, either. Both productions tip off at 2 p.m.
So how does she do it?
According to WICA director Deana Duncan, she is “literally doing Act 1 with ‘The Nutcracker’ then driving here and doing Act 2 with Peter and the ‘Starcatcher.’” It may cause some stress for Duncan, LeMay acknowledges, but she adds both production crews have her back.
“Megan was so well-organized with her time limitations that we started the project knowing exactly when we had her and when we didn’t, so there were no big problems,” Duncan said. “It’s only possible with two theaters within a few miles of each other.”
LeMay plays the role of the mother in “The Nutcracker;” her character and the father both guide the living room scene in the first act. Since she held the role in 2016, it’s a role she’s familiar with. But it’s also a role limited to the first act, which makes this sort of juggling possible.
In the WICA production, which brings the prelude of “Peter Pan” to a South Whidbey audience, LeMay performs the role of a character named Fighting Prawn. The character is a native of Mollusk Island, which becomes the Neverland audiences around the world are familiar with. Duncan assigned her a character who only appears in the second act so it lines up with her busy schedule.
LeMay choreographs for both productions.
According to LeMay, she was encouraged to dive into both roles by her artistic director at Whidbey Island Dance Theatre. That suggestion came when she was already committed to the iconic Christmastime ballet, but she says her artistic director ensured her that it would work perfectly. They gave Duncan a call, and she also offered her support.
“Ever since I was little, I’ve been going back and forth having a million different interests at once, and my parents have always been very supportive of that,” LeMay said. “But I’d say this is probably the biggest thing I’ve ever done. It’s been a challenge.”
Throughout this overwhelming process, LeMay says she doubts she could’ve done this alone. Choreographers, directors and cast mates have all adjusted to make room for her ambitious juggling, which Duncan was confident LeMay could do with her time management skills.
The talent, though, was never in doubt.
“It’s important to me for people to understand that I couldn’t have done this by myself,” LeMay said. “I have a huge support system behind me — directors, family and cast mates. They’ve all been behind me and that’s been really amazing.”
“If the schedule worked out beautifully as it did this time, I’d absolutely do this again.”