After Class: Theater

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I’m biased on this one. I’m a regular theater-goer, and when I hear a student is involved in theater, I automatically respect that student even more. That’s probably because I am pretty sure I myself could never pull off acting. I wish I could have been a “theater kid” – I even tried in college but didn’t make the cut. It seems I just didn’t have the skill developed. Maybe I would have, had I trained as early as middle or elementary school like some of my students. Acting is one of those things that looks easy but clearly requires a lot of training, self-awareness, and perhaps natural talent to pull off effectively.

This activity deserves a lot of leaves, and I don’t think I’m alone in my respect for thespians. It’s a common understanding that anyone who can take to the stage, by definition, is equipped with an important skillset:

·Oral communication

·Creative problem solving

·Motivation and commitment

·Cooperative work

·Time management and respect for deadlines

·Ability to learn quickly (and correctly)

·Adaptability and flexibility

·Healthy self-image and confidence

·Discipline and concentration

·Knowing how to have fun

Even though I don’t see myself as an actor, I am proud that I at least gave it a shot. So if you have even an inkling that acting could be a fun activity, do the same. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to go for a leading role. Others may be more interested in behind-the-scenes work such as theater tech, lighting, set production, sound, and other essential elements to putting on a show. Those responsibilities require an equal amount of skill and dedication. No one person is more important or essential than another in aiming to produce a play or musical.

If I could give only one piece of advice to a student looking into joining theater, it would be about time management. Productions take a lot of dedication to pull off, and drama teachers have high demands on everyone, whether you have the leading role, a single line in the last scene, or charge of the spot light. Veteran high school theater kids know that the week or two before the first show means lots of late nights in the auditorium and less time to spend on other things (even homework), so time management is a must to successfully balance theater with academic work and normal life.

Look into your school’s theater options or check out organizations outside your school. The skills you develop as a “theater kid” virtually guarantee you a collection of competencies that will enhance your abilities no matter what direction you take later in life.