When I was a child I was loud, I was confident, and I had enough energy to power my own country. I no doubt drove my parents insane beyond belief. Which explains the moment when my mom took me to audition for a MCT (Missoula Children's Theatre) play at age eight. I had to be channeled, and they had the hunch theatre could do that.
Sure enough, it did.
22 years later, theatre still remains a large part of who I am. I grew up on the stage. I relished the spotlight. I learned to direct. I attended MCT Performing Art Camp and made life-long theatre friends. By the time I was 18 I had performed in around 35 different productions, not including the small skits and pieces I would write with friends and perform in any chance we got. This was my life. The life lessons, skills and passions I learned in theatre helped create exactly who I am today.
I learned self-reliance. I learned teamwork. I learned perserverance and bravery and patience and hope and denial and pure exhaustion.
|Snow White in sneakers. It must be an MCT play.|
Then we moved to Oregon. And for five years I had no theatre.
As soon as we moved back to the island I knew I had to get back into the theatre life. The community I live in is full of arts passion, and theatre has always been a huge part of being an islander here. I couldn't wait.
Not even one year after being back, my stepmom saw a posting for the school district. It was for the Drama Director position. Within an hour of her texting me that I had to apply, two of my other friends did the same thing. I decided: Why not?
This had to have been one of the most nerve-racking auditions of my life. Er...I mean interview... If you haven't learned yet, I am not the strongest in the self-confidence front. But I can act. So I put on the brave face, interviewed, and waited.
Then I found out: I got the job.
I was given the key to the exact same drama room I rehearsed in for seven years during my school days. I inhereted the collections and history I was already a part of. And I took it upon myself to reform our drama program back into what it once was years go.
I just finished my second season as the drama director.
In 24 months, I have:
- Directed two high school productions (The Secret Case of Sherlock Holmes and The Neverending Story)
- Directed two middle school productions (A Walk in the Woods and Sally Cotter and the Censored Stone)
- Assistant directed one children's theatre summer camp production (Disney's The Little Mermaid)
- Performed in a children's theatre show with my son (I was a zombie. Who did the Thriller...and the Time Warp. Be jealous.)
- Chartered our high school into the International Thespian Society
- Joined in as a tech member for the town spring musical (The Addams Family)
- Started in on prep for this summer's children's theatre camp production (Disney's Aladdin)
- Started in on prep for next year's combined 7-12th grade MUSICAL (I am being daring here...)
- etc etc etc
If you have ever done theatre, you might have an inkling how much time it takes to make one production. For instance: The high school play this school year auditioned in September. We rehearsed nearly daily expect during school breaks. Not to mention set design and building, costume creation, etc. We performed in January. BEFORE we even opened, I held auditions for the middle school show which then performed in April. The hours that go into each production cannot even be numbered. It becomes my life.
I disappear from my family. From my friends. And obviously for my writing.
This is a balancing act I am still figuring out.
I am LOVING my theatre job and cannot wait to see where I go with it next. I have great plans and dreams for my program, along with hoping I can begin to act again myself. I have found that piece of myself that was missing, and I am loving every moment of it.
Worry not, I am balancing things. I am discovering when to take a break from thinking about my current production to write or play with my family or maybe even sleep. Life is a balancing act. If there is one thing I have for sure learned in recent years, it is that. I am in a constant state of learning. I flounder and mess up and get lost. But in the end I am a great actress who can improv and carry on until the play is back on track. All the world's a stage...
And the show must go on.
|Sally Cotter and the Censored Stone. Harry Potter parody, anybody?|