“We’re actors. We’re the opposite of people.”
So states Tom Stoppard in “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”
I am an actor; therefore, I am not a person. Actors are a very special breed in that they must come to accept that they are just one piece of an entire puzzle. There are, of course, starring roles and lead actors and such, but it is still incredibly difficult to be special, to matter immensely in the vast world of theatre.
However, I sacrifice my humanity willingly, pouring my heart and soul out onstage in the hopes to touch one person as some people have touched me.
I started out as a very self-conscious individual, afraid to look at herself in the mirror, afraid of doing anything to draw attention to her.
Then, I discovered theatre. I realized that being on stage was what I wanted to do, no matter the cost.
However, the trials and tribulations of pouring your soul out and having it critiqued does irreparable damage to one’s psyche.
High school is difficult. High school theatre is impossible. Your cast members are your family, however you also have to compete against them for a role.
In addition, there is your director. Your director can make or break you as an actor. My high school director tore down my honest, genuine, wide-eyed love of theatre and made me question everything about what I was doing. Was I good enough? To her, I was just another mediocre actress. To myself, I was even worse.
Then I went to a theatre camp, full of people just like me, all bursting with passion for this art form.
They all gave themselves wholly and completely to it, just like I did. Slowly, my passion started to rekindle, the dying flame flickering a bit in their excitement.
I was then cast into the most moving and incredible production of Animal Farm as Squealer by a director who saw my passion and my desire to be great.
This director has been such an influence in my life and, even as a college student, his understanding and guidance is unparalleled to anyone I have ever worked with before.
He cultivated my skills and pushed me to go farther than I ever thought possible. He taught me not to be myself playing the role, but to become the role, a skill many accomplished actors still have difficulty with.
He was always incredibly patient when I was near tears because I would have to call for a line and would bolster my confidence.
Because of him, I grew as an actor and as a person. I gained confidence in my abilities in the theatre and in real life.
I discovered my ability to fill a space with my presence and command an audience with my voice.
In my life, I have met very few people that have had such a massive impact on me as he has and I consider myself honored to have been able to work with him.
So, even though I may give my humanity to the art, he showed me that the art can give back so much more.
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