Saturday, February 11, 2012
I admit, I am pretty obsessed with my health, with exercise, and of course with food. Lately it seems like I have been focused solely on my new goals, eating clean, and exercise.
And, that's a good thing.
But, that's not all there is to life, and sometimes I have a hard time seeing past it all. Losing weight, getting healthy, training for a marathon - these are all huge, life-consuming things, but some times stepping back, relaxing a little, and enjoying something else can be just what is needed.
Tonight was absolutely amazing.
A little background info: I work for an after school program. I direct plays for middle school students in a small, rural town where there is no theatre program for that age group and not much for high school either. I created my part of the program about 7 years ago from nothing, and I work with basically no budget. It's not easy to create something out of nothing, but we manage to do it. This year I increased our shows to 3 because I had such an amazing group of kids.
Tonight was the last night of our 3rd show. I save money by writing my own scripts for the kids. Being a writer comes in handy when you can only afford performance rights for one show per year. I was really excited about this script as soon as it was finished. I shared it with a couple of my students last spring, and they got excited, too. By the time we had auditions in December my entire theatre group was excited.
This show has had so many problems it is mind-blowing. I won't list them all here, but for starters we had 5 weeks to rehearse (we meet twice a week for 2 hours at a time) and during our 5 weeks we had 2 vacations. Immediately after casting the show we had Christmas break. I asked the kids to learn their lines without really expecting them to do it.
They came back 70% off book.
The program closed for a week at the change of the quarter and then remained closed for a week after because a water pipe burst and destroyed the program's main office.
I got every single kid to come in during that week for rehearsals.
The week of the show, the state big wigs for the program came in, and we had to add a performance a day early.
The kids pulled it off amazingly.
Then came the shows. During our second performance (one we do during the school day for the entire middle school) a student threw up after doing her scenes. There is a nasty sickness going around the school. She pulled it together and made it back on stage for her last scene and the final bow. That night she was too sick to do the performance, so another student stepped in after learning the lines in an hour.
They're both in 5th grade.
Today, one of my leads was sick, but she rested all day, came in, and did an amazing job.
There is nothing like a play to bond a seemingly disjointed group of kids. They're not all friends outside of theatre, but when they are there they work together and support each other. Age, grade, sports, popularity - none of that matters. It is amazing to see.
My favorite thing is watching them succeed. They know when they're doing well, they respond to laughter from the audience, and it gives them even more energy. Their faces when they take their bows and afterward greet the audience are priceless. I feel so much pride in those kids, and tonight I was overwhelmed by their generosity when they gave me a really personal gift instead of the standard flowers.
Providing this experience for them is the greatest reward. Watching them grow in confidence makes me happy because I remember how difficult middle school can be. Giving the "weird" students a place to be accepted and be part of a group warms my heart.
Watching a middle school play and forgetting that they're kids because they are so completely their characters = amazing.
This week has been rough on my eating/exercising goals. Show weeks always are. I didn't have a lot of time to exercise, I had to miss some classes, I got stressed, and i didn't always make the best food choices.
But, this week has been extremely good for my soul.