It's High Time for High DramaI just got home from going with my daughter to a local theater to see a children's repertoire of Broadway selections. I know the director and her daughter, and I know some of the other parents and their kids, as well. My children had been in a musical earlier this year, so I recognized some of the cast members who were in this production, too.
Some of these kids are talented. One girl in particular had a good voice in the last play I saw her in, but tonight she was incredible. She is talented.
And there were some other kids who showed themselves to be amazing character actors.
There was no shortage of talent. But what floored me was the level of giftedness.
The most surprising point of the production was the song River in the Rain sung by a teenager and the piano player, and African American gentleman. As the teen began to sing (and this kid is gifted...not talented...he is g-i-f-t-e-d), tears started streaming down my face. It wasn't his singing voice that moved me, it was the heart with which he sang. It was this old soul in him that poured out through the music. And then as the piano player joined in, I could not stop the flood of tears. They weren't sad tears, they were tears of awe. The kind of tears that you shed when you know you are party to something amazingly unique, and special and wonderful. That you are watching someone operate completely in their area of giftedness. It was moving and inspiring. It was pure. I don't know how else to describe it except, just pure. No one was pressing to sing outside their range. No one was singing a song that was jarring for their age or ability. In fact, I tear up just thinking about it again, because it was just that special.
Alas, you are out in cyber space. You won't hear what I am speaking of, and of course, now just think I am one of those crazy old ladies who cries at movies and the telephone commercials where someone is reunited. No, that really isn't me at all. I wish I could share the experience with you, but that would take away from it, I think...if I were able to capture it completely.
So why in the world do I attempt to share it with you, full well knowing that I am not capable? Well, I do so hopefully to prompt you to think of one of those unparalleled moments in time. Not necessarily something so singular as a wedding or birth of a child...but just a random moment in time that captivated you. That bores through the crusty exterior to your very core and touches you.
I don't know what the performance dredged up in me, but I do know that I walked away envying that group of children. Yes, you heard it. I envy them because they are part of this incredible theater group. I know the director, and she pours her life into those kids. She encourages them; she teaches them; she makes them better actors, actresses, singers, dancers...and yes, better people. Those kids are learning lessons beyond 'stage left' and 'stage right'...
I didn't have that. I didn't have that opportunity to work on the craft of acting. I have always loved it, but didn't have that outlet. And I look back now and wonder 'what if?' Not 'what if' in the sense that there could have been a career. But 'what if' with regard to my self-esteem. With regard to understanding my talents. With regard to knowing where my strengths were. Learning them in your 30's is much better than never learning, but I am betting there wouldn't have been all those 'wasted' years of trying to figure it out.
So, tonight I encourage you. If there is a children's theater in your area, go support it. If you have children, and they show an interest in anything positive, support it. If you have friends whose children are in theater, go see them. If YOU have an interest in drama, find a place to exercise it...to explore it.
The stage is a wonderful place. And it can be just as fulfilling from the audience side as it is from the curtain side. Support the children in your area...you have no idea how valuable the experience is for them. And you may walk away being touched and blessed just by having gone.