It had been a long Sunday afternoon. Rehearsal was just about to finish but I had one more matter of business to attend to. I had already informed the director and drama teacher, Ms. Carbone, that the first round of mock trial competition was taking place on Tuesday. In an unexpected twist of events, I was going to be presenting the defense pretrial argument before the judge on that day. Just earlier that Sunday morning, the lead position had been wrested away from another member of the team and bestowed upon me. The coaches had decided that my teammate’s performance was bordering near subpar and believed that I had the potential to deliver a powerful pretrial motion in two days. In order to prepare for my first oratory in the courtroom, I was now required to go to my captain’s house for one final practice on Monday night, which also happened to be the same time as play rehearsal.
“That’s it. I’ve had enough. You’re out of the play.” Never in a million years had I expected to hear that response when I announced to Ms. Carbone that I would be missing the last two hours of play rehearsal on Monday for mock trial practice. True, I had skipped a few rehearsals before for mock trial, but in my defense, my role in the fall play was very limited. I played an old grandmother, was in only two scenes, and had but two lines. I sure didn’t think those two lost hours would have made the slightest improvement in my performance during Thursday’s opening night.
Nonetheless, my instinctive reaction was to plead with Ms. Carbone and attempt to compromise, like I’ve successfully done so countless times before in the past few months. Except this time, Ms. Carbone refused to listen, even when, in my panicked foolishness, I offered to miss mock trial practice for the dress rehearsal. But Ms. Carbone would not budge, and I stormed out of the theater that Sunday night at ten p.m. with no tears in my eyes; I was far too angry for that.
In my mind, I was right and Ms. Carbone was being absurd. I did, however, end up following her advice. Following that incident, I threw myself wholeheartedly into preparing for mock trial, no longer forced to divide my time between two separate worlds. I’d learned my lesson, and the next two years, I didn’t even audition for the play, knowing that I was incapable of maintaining a perfect balancing act for an extended period of time. I realized that no matter how hard I try, I can’t do everything, so I had to choose just one activity to dedicate all my energy to. And I discovered that my passion lies in mock trial, in public speaking and debate. Looking back to that Sunday, I understand now that Ms. Carbone had presented a beautiful gift to me the moment she decided to kick me out of the play: the gift of passion.
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