You love the theatre. You love the performing arts. But you don’t want to act, sing, dance, tell jokes, juggle, or do anything that puts you front and center on a stage with a live audience. Or in front of a camera, for that matter.
But you love the theatre.
What do you do?
You find out more about what the performing arts are and where you might fit in.
You figure out:
- What you like about the performing arts
- What you like to do (say, for instance, you like working with light and how it changes things and creates moods, but you don’t know anything about stage lighting)
- What you think would be a great job later on (such as running the light board)
I suggest that you use the flexible time this summer to find out some details about the performing arts and begin to narrow down what it is that is so exciting about the theatre and what “speaks to you” (like in those Pier One commercials??).
The thing about focusing in on something is one of those good news/bad news things.
Focus as good news
On the good news side, if you focus in on something now, you:
- Can focus in on what you want to do, which will, in turn, help you focus on looking for the next level of education (college, conservatory, technical schools)
- Get to be really good at something by the time you need to go out and look for a job
- Will have learned to be, well, focused rather than to approach life in a hodge-podge higgily-piggily (don’t you love those non-words, you writers out there?) way. Being focused isn’t being obsessive/compulsive. It is knowing where you are going and taking the time and effort to identify the ways to get there.
Focus as bad news
On the bad news side, it may seem futile to focus on anything now, at your age, when you are just getting confident that you what things are “out there.” So, ok. These are my thoughts, not yours. But there is a very real possibility that no matter how committed you think you are to theatre, it could all change, maybe sooner than later. I am asking you to use part of this summer to explore what is available for you. You think you know the performing arts, but I would bet there are still some things you don’t know about yet. Do something to find out if the performing arts are for you.
An example of what could happen if you commit
The thing is, if you commit to something, like costume design for example, you may find that what you really like about costumes is that it gives you an opportunity to create clothes. In the theatre, you see fashion through the prism of what is going on now in front of a backdrop of what people were wearing at other times in history, and more interestingly, why and how those things came into fashion. In the theatre, a director has some idea of what he or she wants the clothes to look like but it will come, maybe, in the form of, “We’re doing this play set in ancient Rome.” You have to take that meagre idea, read the play, get an idea of the style of the production, see what the set designer is doing, and away you go. You maybe see that you can blend ancient Rome with some clothes you saw in an anime and come up with an idea that is unique and you. Oh, and the director will like.
But if you think that history is a drag and that you could care less about ancient Rome, and that plays always seem rooted in some kind of style that isn’t you, then maybe you need to be somewhere else. So you switch to fashion design and don’t give theatre another thought. At least you know now rather than as you are about to graduate from a performing arts department.
My point is that if you investigate the areas of theatre production and performance now, it may lead to a solid career in the theatre or will point you in another direction entirely. It is better to know that sooner than later before you spend time, money, ambition, interest on something that isn’t going to work for you.
But no matter what you find out about theatre, whether it is for you or not, you will have been focused, you will have learned how to draw, to make sketches, to use colors, to understand how light changes everything and best of all, you learned the value of planning ahead and to get the kind of discipline to stick to your plans. This is what any artist must learn to do if he or she wants a career in the arts.