“Success isn’t just what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do.” -Unknown
When I was about ages 12 to 14, I had an absolute blessing to work with for theatre. As a preteen, you don’t exactly pick up on lessons right away. You also don’t really know what you have until you no longer have it.
The way he taught his curriculum was very different than any other acting coach I’ve ever had. He taught life. Which, in my opinion, is probably the hardest thing to teach. We were manipulated, in the best way possible, to learn about something we didn’t want to talk about. How to feel, how to take care of yourself, but most importantly, how to care for the people around us. That’s the big one.
He sat us in front of the stage and would insist that the stories we were about to hear would save our lives one day. I believe they did. From enormous spiders to walls covered in tin foil, each story said something about the experiences you hold onto.
There was something in the way he spoke about performing. He was never direct about the point he was making. He left it up to our own interpretation, praying we would catch on to the lesson. I’m sure every actor has heard that we are not supposed to play emotions. The way he taught this was that the show was never really about us in the first place. It’s not about how we feel, it’s how we make the audience feel. Acting, dancing, singing, painting, music, lights, sound, etc; it’s not how our creation makes us feel. It’s about how we can make other people feel. So, if performing is all about the audience, then life is about caring for other people. That is success. Success is not fame, nor money. Success is happiness that can be shared.
I volunteered at a theatre camp this summer and had the pleasure of working for Victoria Sook. One day, she sat all the counselors down to talk about the scary word that is; success. I remember how her eyes lit up. It was something she was so clearly passionate about and knew she had to say.
“Success is defined by happiness.” She said. “If working at a small community theatre makes you happy, you are successful. If working in New York makes you happy, you are successful.”
I took into consideration that “success” has become a false synonym for fame. Fame does not define you. Money does not define you. To strive for such a goal as money and fame will dissatisfy you in the end. Success is happiness and nothing less than that.
For the past couple years, a very special lady has taught me a valuable lesson. Connection. It’s a feeling so strong that you cannot ignore nor push away. Trusting your gut because it’s never wrong. It teaches you important lessons, on and off stage. A connection between characters, between human beings is a powerful thing to hold.
She taught life. Life is about other people. To be aware of other people’s emotions and experiences. There is no lead. You learn to work as a unit to create something larger than life. That is success.
There’s a story about how it’s acceptable to not be yourself. We told this story even when we weren’t on stage. The story about how we could no longer see the eyes when the lights hit us. We are no longer inside our drama, our fears, our life. We begin to see life through another person’s eyes. We are them and they are us. We learn lessons through the characters we portray. A connection between souls is so much more powerful than “how large” the role itself is. We take in this new breath of life and learn each time.
Now, right over left.
Dazzle the Dark.
Dazzle the Dark.
Dazzle the Dark.