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Theatre: What Took Me So Long?

I came to acting and theatre as an adult. Here is why I'll never let the dream go!

The most vulnerable I've ever been. Standing still, for at least 2 minutes after doing an embarrassing dance. And I loved it. From Alice in Wonderland in 2016 at San Juan College in Farmington, NM.

Imagine a world where you don't feel pressured to be anyone else. A world where you are accepted and loved. Sounds like an oasis, heaven itself, or a paradise, right? Well for me, theatre, music, and acting helped me make it there. I love theatre and acting because it motivates me, helps me be a better person, and pushed me to an absolute breaking point.

The motivation: It's hard for me to not be in a show or have it fill my thoughts and consume my being. It all starts with an audition. So when you audition for a show, you have to perform for around one to four people using a memorized monologue (a scene with a single person speaking, think of Braveheart or 300 when Mel Gibson and Gerard Butler are rallying the troops.). You are ultimately placing yourself as open and vulnerable as you possibly can while some individuals try to decide which part to cast you in. You might be frightened or get sweaty palms while thinking about that, but that's what I look forward to in auditioning for a show. You see, each audition can be geared towards a particular part or role that you want in a show. Now, allow me to speak to the particulars of the motivation. Each show in theatre tries to relay a certain message. Whether it be the importance of families, confirming one's identity, or treating everyone equally, that motivates me. Performing in front of an audience makes all the auditions, rehearsals (play practice), and tech week (I'll dedicate another piece to this concept, don't you fret) all worth it. This leads me to item number 2: theatre helps me be a better person.

In theatre, you learn to work with and get along with others. And some of the most unlikely individuals can end up making lifelong friendships. One example of this, and it's rather embarrassing for me to admit, is that in theatre I've had the opportunity to overcome my misunderstanding of the LGBT members. I've heard the term of "homo-phobe" thrown around (a term I NEVER want to say outloud again) and that accurately fits how I felt. Fellow actors, directors, backstage crew members, you name it. I've worked with them and have made some great friends. And this is one of several ways I've become a better person. Through different plays I've been a part of, I've been able to distract people from the real world and real problems. I've called audiences' attentions to real events that are happening in our world and tried my best to provide real, raw performances that helps audiences and cast members make meaningful connections to the plot and story of the shows I've been in. I'm willing to admit I'm not perfect, but the fact the world of Theatre has allowed me to be a member of it means the world to me. I have a "theatre family" of people of all races, ages, genders, and ethnicities, a combination of people you just don't see in other places. This leads me to my last topic: being pushed to the absolute breaking point.

I've had roles that really pushed me, meaning that in each role that I've had (Hermann Van Dann, Mad Hatter, Christmas Present, Mal Beineke) has brought out certain characteristics. Now, most of my roles are the father figures (again, I'll write about this in a future blog) but not each father is the same. The Mad Hatter really required me to find a fine line of hysteria that was a beautiful place to be, but if I went too far, it took me a while to "come back safely." Same with Mr. Van Daan. He was a friend to the Frank family back in World War II, and he was a Jew. He was a bit of a glutton and selfish beyond any doubt. I tried to be selfish in what I took to the stage that night and I was a bit of a jerk in my other relationships outside of theatre (roommates, family, friends, co-workers, etc.) if I couldn't "come back safely." Acting requires a sense of honesty, passion, and vulnerability that allows you to tell the story of humanity. Acting provides such a strong medium of communication, especially when you get to tell the story. That amount of work can seem daunting. I don't like to think that only on Broadway can someone see a show and really enjoy it. And this is no knock or demerit to the Motion Picture industry, but if you are able to see a play at your local theatre, go see it. If you're able to see a local high school show, I encourage you to do so. I've never met a harder working group of people then those that work in the local theatre realm, and especially on the professional level.

I do hope to continue to post about theatre, especially my endeavors in theatre. It's my hope that this post can help those who've never allowed themselves to audition or participate in a show to do so. To give motivation to youngsters that are discouraged because of the grind of theatre, keep it up! And to any professional actor who needed a reminder of why they act or why they audition several times over, I hope you enjoy this reminder that theatre can motivate you, help you be a better person, and push you to your limits or breaking point.

Until next time, come back safely! And thanks for the read!

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