Monday, May 11, 2015

Things I have learnt from Musical Theatre #1: the hardest working kids in town

Five months of my recent life have been consumed and invigorated by "Evita". A local theatre company gave me a shot at performing in the ensemble of their production and it has been my making.

I like to think that this blog, while often seemingly random and themeless, is a place for me to share what I learn. Evita has been an education.

The cast was made up of around 50 people aged from 11 to 'a lady never divulges her age'. Most of the cast had a teen in their number. I'd like to share with you what I have learned about these young people.

First I would like to ask you: When was the last time you committed to something, something outside of full-time work or study and committed to it for up to 12 hours a week for 5 months? A commitment that required focus, discipline, mental, creative and physical challenges and constant connection and interaction with 50 people working as a team. When was the last time a commitment like this required a final week of 50 hours in confined space with those 50 people you have spent 12 hours a week with, plus crew, and this was on top of your full-time work/study?

And in particular, when was the last time you did all this with professionalism, commitment and focus? Striving for excellence, all the while keeping your humour and squeezing the most fun that could possibly be squeezed from every second?

(I know, right? I couldn't do it. I was stuffed. I needed days off work and a lot of naps.)

So this is what I have learnt about young people in theatre.

These young people are responsible, committed. They turned up sick. They turned up exhausted.  They were vulnerable and anxious. They were kind and caring to each other. And so bloody funny. They turned up and turned it on every day.

Parents of teens who say they want to pursue a career in theatre or music or drama, can I just say to you, encourage them. Care for them. Please don't tell them they need something sensible 'to fall back on'. Acknowledge their dedication and hard work as well as their beauty and talent.
You know, with support, they might just crack it.

Or they might not. They may get to 25, be broke and decide that they haven't made it and that its time to do something sensible. (oh my god, so many years to be sensible.). At least they would have spent their youth working their arses off, surrounded by creative, stimulating people, pushing, challenging and exposing their vulnerability every day and having a fkn good time doing it.

If they can do that, lets face it, they can do anything.

Better to try than to get to 25 having done 'the sensible thing' and being broke anyway.
Better to try than to get to 25 and feel that you lost yourself on the way.

Better to try than get to 42 and grieve for a version of life unlived.

My hat is off to you, young people of musical theatre. You are brave and bold.
Seize it, relish it, pursue it now. Being 'sensible' is highly overrated.

Parents of young people who want to pursue a career in music, theatre and the arts, please don't fear for their future. You can have faith and be so proud of them. 

They are the hardest working kids in town.

Photo courtesy of Encore Theatre Company


Cat from thatbettiething said...

Well said. I did some theatre when I was a kid, but needed something to 'fall back on'. Still working out what I want to be when I grow up ...

Isis said...

sounds like the most amazing experience ever, true team work, you've definitely inspired me to get more involved behind the scenes when i can... costumes or props I hope :)