Saturday, December 18, 2010

Crazy Journey.

This morning I attended and MC'd the my Studio Acting class's final performance.  I've been coaching and teaching them for the past thirteen weeks, and final performances are always worth it - regardless of the heartache beforehand - it's worth it to see something you've had a hand in producing going up before an audience.

When I got home from the performance this morning, I found a comment on my coaching page on facebook from my high school theatre director, saying that he was proud of my accomplishments.

This one comment meant more to me than a comment from anyone else could have possibly meant, when it comes to acting, directing, or anything to do with theatre.  He is the person who taught me what it means to be a part of a quality performance.  He is the reason I understand what it means to be a good director.  He is the reason I continued with the theatrical arts past my teen years.

The whole thing got me thinking about how strange life can be...  and how quickly time can pass.

Fifteen years ago was my first high school theatre production.  Fifteen years ago.  At that time I was, perhaps, the most clueless person on the stage.  I had no idea what was expected of me, no idea what I was doing, no idea what it meant to be serious about a role or production.  By the end of high school I was determined to become a teacher and my ultimate goal was to direct a high school musical.

I thought I might teach theatre someday.  Might get to direct something at the high school level sometime in my forties or fifties.  And now my first directing gig at the high school level seems long ago and far away.  I started directing in college - groups of my peers, high school students, adults - I had a professor who took me under her wing and turned the wheel of my life's vehicle from acting toward directing - where this beautiful field opened up to me...  I still never dreamed I would teach theatre to others, let alone coach actors independently.

I honestly never thought I would get a leading role in a production.  It all seemed very remote...  all the pictures from that period in my life are so vivid in my mind - it's as though I can reach out and tough the people and the things and I have come so far it seems like a dream...  An evanescent vision that will float away if I blink...

I no longer teach in the school system.  I quit a few years ago to stay home with my kids.  We're an unschooling family and life is good. strange.  The places you think you'll end up in life as not the places you ultimately go - often they end up even better.

There are things you think will never happen in life.

I never thought I was direct a high school musical.

I never thought I would have a production I directed with teenagers called "on par with professional" by people who know the difference.  I never thought I would perform at the State One Act Festival or play the lead in Proof or coach other actors or sing in the band at church or have children at a younger age than planned or live in Maryland or dream of setting off with my family for a year on the road in an RV.  Those things were smokey... remote...  and I am.

I think back to that first high school production.  I can smell the smells, see the people, feel the lights warm on my skin.  The memories are as tangible as the keyboard on which I now type.  I look back at that girl - with bangs and long hair and so many insecurities and I look at me and I wonder how it all came to be.  How I could travel so far in what feels like such a brief period.

Fifteen years.

Is it really so long?

The older I get, the shorter time seems.  My memories of ages past seem as yesterday.

This has been one crazy journey.

I know we can't know when we'll die.  It could be tomorrow, even today, even sometime before I finish this post.  We are but dust.  But I think about the life I've led so far and I can't even begin to imagine the possibilities that lie ahead.  Things I think are impossible today could be tomorrow's every day reality.

It makes me feel very small, and very safe, and reminds me of the need to be very brave.

Strange combinations of feelings.  A strange brew for an outlook on life.

I never would have believe myself if I would have gone back in time to tell the younger me what the point of it all was.  How it would all flesh out as time went on.  I look forward with anticipation.  With trepidation.  With awe at what futures can bring.

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