Learn about the theatre experience from a thespian

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Photo: Alissa Saylor

Full of fear and excitement, you patiently stand back stage waiting for a rambunctious crowd to enter the building. As you hear the band begin to play the overture, a nervous punch suddenly hits your stomach and you feel a drop of sweat dripping down the back of your neck. A hush falls over the audience and the curtain slowly opens. It’s show time!

There is nothing quite like the rush of stage lights hitting your face and stepping on the stage for the first time. Suddenly, you are no longer you; you are the character you are portraying. You have a whole new personality and a whole new vision. You are able to pretend that you are someone else for the evening and you can be whoever you want to be. Theater can give you a creative experience that you cannot obtain in any other situation. Along with that experience, it can teach us so much and help us to grow as people.

I started participating in theater at the age of 8, and my debut role was as a sardine in The Little Mermaid. You may laugh, but even though the part was tiny it meant so much to me. I felt like I was on top of the world, wearing a shiny sardine costume and running around in a circle with my fellow 8 year old actors. For the first time I felt like I was a part of something, I felt like I could be whoever I wanted to be. From then on I was totally hooked and I have learned so much since then thanks to my time in theater.

Theater can you teach us many things, but one of my favorite things about being in a play is learning the art of improvisation. In our lives, things often go wrong; in a play, things often go wrong. People forget lines, props break and entrances are missed. Theater teaches us to keep our cool in surprising situations, and how to quickly react and give the impression that everything is under control. This is an amazing life lesson that everyone should have; the show must go on no matter what.

Along with learning improvisation, theater teaches us to work with all different types of people. A play cannot happen without teamwork and cooperation. While taking park in a play, you will meet all sorts of different people and have all sorts of different opportunities to make friends and get close with people that you never thought you would become close with. It teaches you to appreciate diversity and new people.

Theater can teach us how to deal with disappointment. In life, rejection is inevitable because although life can be wonderful and beautiful, it can also be greatly disappointing. You are not always going to have the lead role, you will not always be front and center and there will always be someone is better than you. Not getting the role you wanted in a play may be disappointing at first, but with time it makes you tough and you come to understand that everything is a learning experience.

Putting on a play is hard work as it take dedication and persistence to learn lines, build sets, produce a convincing and well done show. Taking part in a production teaches you how to be a persistent and hard working individual, it is just like anything in life; it takes time and hard work to get good at anything. Theater has taught me how to work hard to learn lines, memorize song lyrics and how to be a team player.

So many life lessons can be learned through  taking part in a play. You can make new friends that last a lifetime and will have experiences that you will never forget. You feel a sense of individualism that is overwhelming and theater teaches you to believe in yourself and live in the moment. Best of all, theater can help you to become the best person you can be.

By Alissa Saylor

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