Theatre: Training for Life
Several people have expressed interest in hearing more about my life in theatre, so here is a beginning. Being involved with theatre for more than 30 years has affected my life in too many ways to be the subject of one blog post. In many ways, theatre training and production has actually been my training for life.
Over the years, rehearsal and performance of plays has given me:
- Self-Awareness. Many roles taught me something about myself or gave me an opportunity to stretch out of my comfort zones and experiment with other ways I could choose to live. Finding similarities and differences between myself and the characters I played enabled me to explore who I am and what makes me unique.
- Awareness of Other Perspectives. Playing characters who differed from me pushed me to develop a bodily understanding of the reality that the world looks different from other people’s perspectives.
- Community. Everywhere I go, there is a theatre company that benefits from my involvement. When I move, the local theatre community is usually where I make my first, and often my closest, friends.
- A Reason to Work Hard. School never challenged me. I got through my entire education by handing in something for each assignment and showing up for classes and exams. Theatre challenged me. I started with nothing more than a good speaking voice. After 30 years of classes and productions, I have become a respectable actress and a good director. My theatrical accomplishments are some of my most cherished because I had to work for that growth.
- A Place Where Unique Contributions Are Valued. Whatever your skill set, if you want to work on a show, there is a theatre that can use you. Even the most elementary amateur production needs performers, sets, costumes, props, lights and sound, publicity, front of house, and overall coordination. Even if you don’t want to perform, you can be a valuable member of the team. I like to know what is going on in every aspect of the production which makes me especially valuable as a stage manager, director, producer, or Board Member.
- A Reason to be Part of a Team. I am naturally introverted. I like to figure everything out myself, and manage all the details on my own. But, you can’t do that in theatre. My senior thesis in college included a solo performance that I wrote, choreographed, and directed. I also designed and created the costumes, set, and sound. But, even so, I needed people to run the show while I performed in it and somebody else to design the lights. It would have been impossible for me to succeed without at least a small team.