“Years from now, we’ll remember and we’ll come back by the rooftop and hang a plaque – this is where we began…”
– Merrily We Roll Along
*I wrote this post exactly one week ago, in the midst of the end of my summer contract, but still feel the need for it be shared. Enjoy!*
With the end of summer has come time for a long overdue entry. The past 3 months (has it only been that?) have been some of THE most challenging, educational and I daresay rewarding months of my life. That’s right – baby’s first summer stock contract.
Wow. Wow. WOW. As somebody who has previously only ever worked on individual shows, or ones that overlapped for just a week (looking at you, ABT), to rehearse and perform four major musicals within a span of about 11 weeks is mind blowing. We’re into our last week of performances now, and I’m still in denial that we actually accomplished this humongous feat. But we did!
Yes, artistically I’ve grown. I’ve learned about my versatility, about what skills I want and need to work on more, how I relate to different people, different creative teams and different characters, and the absolute limits of memorization that my brain can take before shutting down.
More than anything, I’ve learned that I, we, all of us together, can do anything we set our minds to. No, things will not always be perfect and there will be plenty of line flubs, missed entrances, lack of air conditioning or days off, costume malfunctions, set malfunctions, human malfunctions, illness, injury, emotional breakdowns and so much more. But if all of that can happen, and has, and a group of people can still come together to create magical stories that touch hearts in a small town in the middle of nowhere, USA, then life can’t be all that grim. A lot of us are very young: much of our company are in or just graduated from college. And though that has lumped me in with the “jaded post-grad semi-adult” cast members it’s also reminded me of my first professional job – which really wasn’t too long ago at all – and the absolute confidence I had that all my dreams were going to come true one day soon. I know now that that road will be longer and more difficult than I can even imagine now. I know I have holes in my skillset, that my voice isn’t as strong as I want it to be, that my dance technique will always need to continue to improve, that I need to take care of my body. But I also know that we are young and able and so so so so lucky to be able to even have the chance to follow our dreams and create and share our passion with the world, in any form, and we deserve to treat ourselves and others with as much kindness, love and support as we can.
This group of people here at Weathervane Playhouse could not be more diverse in personality, and we’ve all gotten to know each other perhaps a little too well. But even though we’re a dysfunctional family, we’re still a family. Everybody has brought something different to the table in terms of talent, skill, experience, background, and more, true. But what we’ve all brought, every single one of us, is the same love of this craft, and the determination to make it the best we can be, damn the circumstances. And if that’s not the best jumping point for the rest of our lives, I don’t know what is.
So to all the young artists out there who continue to ride the roller coaster of anxiety, stress and self-doubt with courage, passion and even a little fear: here’s to us.
Who’s like us? Damn few.