Sunday, May 22, 2016

Dear College: Freshman Edition

Dear College,

     You have been absolutely wonderful this year! Being with you has been such a neat experience in ways in which I could not have imagined! Although I had mentally prepared myself in some aspects before I was with you, I was definitely not ready for most of it.

     At first it was hard. I had never been on my own before and although the prospect filled me with excitement, I was also nervous and scared. I didn't quite know how I would handle being with you all by myself. Thankfully, I learned real quick that I was never really alone at all! The Lord was my constant. He also graciously provided me with a loving family who wanted to stay in contact with me every week and some amazing friends who wanted to live life with me every day.

     Speaking of friends, I laugh as I think back to my mentality when I first arrived at your doorstep. I thought it was just going to be you and me, college. I was going to be the perfect student, the perfect musician, and the perfect actor. Having other friends wasn't my priority and I thought I wouldn't need them. Wasn't I wrong! I soon became involved in a lovely group of Godly people who became vulnerable and real with me. We knew we were all flawed but we loved each other no matter how flawed we were. I have learned a lot about being a Godly friend and a Godly counselor. Being with you has opened up new doors for me to impact people and I think that's great.

     This first year of our academic relationship hasn't been all sparkling A+ papers and lead roles on stage, though. There have been many bumps in the road, from my grandpa dying to my friends and I going through really rough circumstances. However, it is a part of my story now and I can see how the Lord has used those not-so-nice things to strengthen and grow me as a person in Him. I have learned the lesson of forgiveness. I have learned the lesson of being a good friend. I have learned the lesson of how friendships shift and change into new relationships. I have learned the lesson of being able to serve no matter where I'm at.

I am still learning the lesson of being content. 
I am still learning the lesson of patiently waiting for God's best. 

     I have been in some wonderful shows since we've been together. My passion for theater and music has not subsided but has grown into a stronger love. Although I may have only gotten small parts, I have found out that I can give 100% in any role I may have, either on the stage of make believe or on the stage of real life. My love for music and my ever deepening discovery of my voice has delighted me in my pursuit of learning. I have chosen the right major!

     The last thing I want to say is that I can't believe we have been together for a whole year! I have heard many people say that the years with college go by so fast, and they were right! This year with you has been a whirlwind adventure and I have loved it! I can't wait to see where we go next during sophomore year. I'm excited to keep continuing down this road!


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Why I Do Theater

The bright lights. The exuberant makeup. The fancy costumes. 
The red curtain. The finishing bows. The excited applause.

     These are the things that come to mind when many people think of theater. They are all true. There are so many iconic aspects of performing that fill many actors, singers, and dancers with delight. During that moment when the show is done and you hear the roaring applause, you truly feel like you have finished a job well done! It's a wonderful feeling!

     However, that is not why I do theater. Although the numerous congratulations and pats on the back are wonderful and elating they don't last. The next week I am washing dishes in the back of a kitchen where nobody cares what I can do on stage. The memory of watching a show only lingers so long in an audience member's mind. Success is only a fleeting experience.

So why do I do theater?

     I do theater because I am a storyteller at heart. I have always been and will always been a person who shares stories, because I consider the whole of history a story. I delight in becoming a character on stage and creating their backstory that nobody will ever know but me. I enjoy becoming somebody else just for a moment so that I can see what the world looks like from their eyes. I can do so many things on stage that I would never be able to do in real life. Storytelling through theater fills a creative need that I naturally have.

     I do theater because it is a gift that God has given me. I am good at it and I enjoy every part of the process. Many of my fellow actors don't enjoy the rehearsal process, only the performances. However, rehearsals are how you create the world you want to present! They are filled with layers upon layers of discovery! Each time you practice a scene you discover more and more of why the characters think the way they do and how they relate to the other people on stage. God has given me a gift to create, and I thoroughly enjoy using it. He has also given me the gift of empathy. I feel what other people are feeling, and that works well on stage.

     I do theater because it impacts people. Theater has been a part of culture since the early ages of humanity. Even with our modern methods of storytelling, theater is still not dead! Why? People are still drawn to the story when they can see real people right in front of them. There is a special connection that actors have with the audience. They both feed off of each other in a mutual respect for the other. It's fascinating! I want to use the stories I present on stage to inspire people to follow the Lord and follow good examples. I want to use the stories I present to convict people of the wrong actions they may be doing in their own life by showing them how the consequences could affect their loved ones around them. (Theater shows the whole story from the inception to the conclusion.) I want to use the stories I present to challenge people to work hard, to treat others with respect, and to see the beauty of the world around them.

     Although most of the scripts are not blatantly Christian, I think that most of them can be used to share the Gospel. So many stories exhibit sin and the consequences it has. They are filled with relationship problems. God created this world, and so no matter what stories we create it all really comes back to Him whether we realize it or not.

That's why I do theater. 

But the applause is nice too...