I am the world’s worst about wanting things NOW! In reality, life doesn’t work that way most of the time.
When you start a new project, it usually has a process it has to go through. And although I am someone who wants things done yesterday, there are those things that I actually prefer the process to the end result.
I think I would be better off if I could feel that way about most things instead of just some.
Remodeling a room, planting a garden, building a table are the kinds of things I want done right now! They aren’t my thing and I just want them finished so I can enjoy the end result. When it comes to creative endeavors that I love, I am all about the process and don’t really care if I ever finish!
When my son was younger he begged and begged to play football. At the time our town did not have little league football, which was fine by me. The next town over did and for a fee Jon could have played. We kept putting him off year after year.
When our town finally started park league football for younger kids we felt we had to let him play, especially since he was already a 6th grader and the next year he would want to play for the middle school any way.
After his first practice he told me he hated it! After years of begging and dreaming and talking about nothing but football, one practice was all it took to make him reconsider his dream.
Our rule was that if you sign up for something, you have to see it through that one season. So we told him he was going to have to suck it up and get through this football season.
Each practice was the same. Hot, sweaty, learning fundamentals from an actual ex player, not just a wannabe dad. It was tough! Each night after practice Jon was exhausted and lamented his decision to ever play the sport.
Eventually it was time for the first game. Jon, being a big guy, got in good playing time. After the game, I waited for my child to come out complaining about the hard hits, the new too tight uniform, any number of things.
Instead he came out and said, “That was amazing! I want to play football for the rest of my life!”
It was a process that until he saw the results of all of his hard work, was hard to justify. Once he saw what all of that work created, he was in. He played through high school, college and is now a sportscaster. He meant it when he said it was amazing to him!!
Theatre is the same way.
To me, the process is what I love.
Theatre summer camp started today and it was a good day. I start off with games and easy exercises for a few days and build up to auditions and rehearsals for a performance. With the older kids I get serious a little quicker.
In my last workshop this past spring, I was asked if I could teach them how to cry on command. To be fair I had asked them what they were most interested in learning. Many different things were thrown out as ideas for lessons, but the crying on demand thing really hit me. And not in a good way.
Today I told my older students what I had told that group. I don’t believe in such a thing. I wouldn’t know where to begin to teach such a thing. I wouldn’t want to teach that.
Acting is about a process. It is about honesty and emotion. If it were as easy as a quick technique, everyone would be an actor.
I told the kids that you had to know who you were playing, you had to know why they were sad, you had explore whether that person you are portraying even would cry. You have to know how and when they would cry. You have to want to cry and you have to get those feelings out to the audience. A fake tear proves nothing.
I was passionate in telling them this and I saw two girls, one who seemed angry that I wasn’t going to give them a quick tip on how to emote on cue, look at each other and roll their eyes.
And it once again hit me how serious I take this stuff. Yes, theatre is fun. And yes, after all of the rehearsals and research and long nights and hard work I often wonder what in the world I am doing this for. Then you see what you and the others you have collaborated with present and how the audience responds and you realize “I want to do this for the rest of my life.”
So maybe I am just too much for kids at summer camp. Maybe it is too much to ask them to work, to learn to be real and to grow. Maybe I expect too much from a bunch of young people who just wanted out of the house for a couple of weeks during summer break.
But I have not been true to me if I don’t let them know it is work, it is tough, it is emotional, it is a process and if you do it right, and if it is what you are meant to do, then at the end of the day it is life changing.
The best things in life almost never happen “right now.” They take work and passion. They take our blood, sweat and tears. The best things are worth waiting for, working for. If everything happened “right now”, what would we look forward to?