This weekend I saw the play “Little Shop of Horrors” at the high school Miss E attends and once again, I am amazed and blown away by the talent these youth exhibit on stage. Some of you might believe I think this way because of my daughter, but I don’t. Really. I don’t. It’s all about the entire cast and how they interact with each other on stage to make the production the best it can be.
How do they do that?
I chalk it up to their director, Mrs. M. She has been a theatre teacher for many many years and is fearless. She’s not afraid to push the youth beyond their comfort zone, which in turn pushes the parents outside their comfort zone, because you know we all come to watch our little darlings. For instance just last month they put on a play addressing dating violence. It was a hard one to watch, even though I knew it was not real. The thing is, if it was hard for me to watch, I suspect it was much more difficult for them to perform.
But it’s not just the director and she knows it. She gives all the credit to them and is just happy to stay behind the scenes and be their number one teacher/director/guide/supporter/fan because they are the ones who work hard to get it ready for production. They are the ones who have to be courageous enough to get on stage, where all the world can see them, and be this character who may or may not mimic them in real life.
In my younger days I wanted to be in theatre. I was already in band and was accustomed to performing in front of crowds so I didn’t think it would be too much of a stretch to do theatre. Wrong. I auditioned but only once because I was so nervous and scared that I completely blew it. After that I promptly gave up being on stage and decided to be part of the set crew.
Now there’s nothing wrong with being on the set crew. Set crews are vitally important because if there’s no set crew, there’s no props and the production needs the props or it just won’t work. But that one audition failure made me think that I could never be on stage. Ever.
Against the heart, failure is sometimes sandpaper, sometimes a little prick and sometimes a dagger that plunges deep. But it’s never fatal. Never.
Me not taking a deep breath and trying again next time around was the worst thing I could’ve done. Looking back, I wish I had been more courageous and kept trying at it but I was young and dumb and didn’t think to do it. In addition, I didn’t really have anyone to encourage me to get up, dust myself off and try again. Kristen Lamb has an excellent post about taking encouragement to heart here.
I think that’s what life is all about. It sounds counter-intuitive but I think failure helps us succeed. Every time we fail at something, we can learn from it. We learn what works and what doesn’t and change how we approach whatever we’re trying to do until finally we finally taste that sweet nectar of success. Like the youth I’ve watched on stage this weekend, we have to keep at it. It’s extremely difficult and sometimes painful but we have to let our failures roughen us up, put callouses on us, and harden our persistence. We have to keep trying.
Miss E has become my inspiration. After she finishes school, I really want to try to get back in theatre and this time get myself on stage.
Have you ever failed at something? Did you quit? Did you keep trying? Tell me. I’d love to hear from you!
Take care now.