Monica, our 15-year-old, is a member of Acting Up! (Scera Youth Theater’s premier audition/competition musical theater performing group). The group consists of a large number of high school aged kids from all over the county.
Every month they perform a religious fireside and present an “outreach” show (this year, it’s The Little Mermaid, last year it was Schoolhouse Rock Live) at libraries, mental institutions, youth homes, etc.
In January they began rehearsing for their competition performances, West Side Story and an Ahrens & Flaherty review. Once tour is over, they will begin production on Pirates of Penzance.
Resiliency means one can successfully cope with problems as they arise. In the world of performing arts, you either become resilient or you have a coronary infarction. There will always be missed cues, miscued music, misspoken lines, props that don’t work, disruption from the audience, or even cast members who get sick and must be replaced at the last moment.
Learning to cope — on the fly and in front of an audience — is part of the fun, and the stress, of live performance. And those who learn to compensate for these problems well are a joy to work with.
When Jessica was a young teen, she was cast in Anne of Green Gables as Anne’s mentor and teacher, Miss Muriel Stacey. On opening night, Miss Stacey was in her schoolroom cleaning up after class, when her suitor showed up, unannounced. Also unannounced was that the four foot, ten inch, 13-year-old would have a large, false mustache prominently and rather crookedly placed by the makeup department.
When the “man” surprised Miss Stacey while her back was turned, she spun around to even greater surprise at the costuming. Her eyes popped open and he jumped back, causing the mustache to tip even further to one side.
“Oh!” she cried. “You’re here!”
“And you grew a mustache!”
The audience roared.
He squared his shoulders, righted the very wronged mustache, and said, “Yes. Do you like it?”
It was the best moment of the entire run.
Rather than spending an entire awkward, embarrassing scene, the couple took what they had been given and not only coped, but made the scene brilliant.
As Friedrich Nietzsche said:
That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
In the world of performing — and elsewhere – learning to “roll with the punches” can make or break us. We can be angry at every little thing that goes wrong or use it to learn, to grow, and even to get a hearty round of applause.
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