Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Most Terrifying Experience of my College Life: (or a story meant to teach you to try new things).

So, I admit, this post could totally be taken as an attempt to impart some sort of moral lesson about new experiences and the benefits they can provide.  And yeah, in a way it sort of is.  But don't worry, you have absolutely no obligation to take any kind of lesson from this.

So what is this new experience that I tried? That would be my first ever theatre class.  What is a person who gets nervous having a conversation doing in a theatre class?  I'd like to say it was a bold decision to defy fear, but to be honest my motivations practically screamed comfort zone.  The class was Shakespeare and Performance.  Now, I have always loved Shakespeare, and understanding it has always come pretty easy to me.  So, when I read the course description I immediately thought that it would be a class that I would enjoy and probably be pretty good at.

I kind of neglected to realize that since it was a Theatre class I was probably going to have to do some acting, something that completely terrified me (and still does to be honest).  In fact the entire basis of the course was editing, preparing, discussing and performing two of Shakespeare's plays Macbeth and 12th Night.  The class also happened to be full of incredibly talented theatre majors who I was incredibly intimidated by.  Ok maybe I should have read the fine print.

The first challenge was discussing and editing the two plays so that they could be performed in under an hour.  This meant lots of group discussions, which meant I had to quickly get over how intimidated I was by the others in the class.  However, the more I ventured to share my opinions, the more I realized that my experience reading Shakespeare actually gave me an advantage within my group, even though I had no actual theatre experience.  

Unfortunately, when the cast lists came out, I somehow ended up cast as not only a witch and narrator in Macbeth, but also as Lady Olivia in 12th Night.  Seriously? Stick the terrified girl with no acting experience in not one but both plays? I'd like to say that I was totally mature and accepted this terrifying prospect with grace and confidence, but no, I ranted and panicked to my poor future roommate who didn't laugh at me nearly as much as she should have.  

But what's the real point in this?  The point is that I survived.  And I not only survived, I really enjoyed myself.  Because even though I was terrified, there was something more.  See, Shakespeare is something that I am really passionate about.  And performing two of his plays allowed me to understand them on a level that I never have before.  It was worth overcoming my fear so that I could throw myself completely into something that I cared about.  

I'm not saying that I didn't shake like a leaf throughout the performances and I'm not saying that I am in a rush to be back on stage. However, the lesson that I guess I am advocating (if you choose to accept it) is that sometimes passion can trump fear. 

Me as Lady Olivia

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