A few months ago I took on a new project. Since I retired from teaching I have felt a definite void with not working on a theater stage. It always seemed I would land something somewhere but I really wasn’t sure. I’ve been through a lot over the past few years, and the one common denominator is that I was always happy on the stage. When I retired I left the door open and an opportunity fell into my lap.
I’ve begun directing on a small stage in an outer suburb of the twin cities. My desire to revamp a theatre program has begun the early days of its fruition. I directed a small group of students in a production that each audition landed a role. There weren’t a lot of students knocking on the door to perform and that was a bit humbling coming from a program that had a burgeoning experience over the last decade of definite intrigue with the stage.I had over 100 kids auditioning for shows, so the results were far different than in a program where I’m in a position of begging a bit to get students to try out.
What evolved is rather exciting. I discovered a remarkably engaging group of students that came early and left late. There was really no ego involved only a genuine desire to perform well on stage. I inherited a lot of work ahead to get all the pieces running smoothly in the program, including set and technical needs, but having the students in the mix with an intrigued persona helps. Next step is to find a show that brings in more talent. Not to say I want to eclipse the students I have now, I just want to enhance the mix and take early steps to build the program.
What really moved me the most was how much I really enjoyed directing. I found myself sitting in the auditorium quite often imagining what was going to happen on stage that night. It was really cool to find ideas and have the students that wanted to implement them on stage. The floor was open to any ideas they brought to the project and the students were delightfully outspoken.
I look forward to the months and years ahead. I often believed I would direct well into my seventh decade and God-willing that appears to be the case. It’s the students that drive me forward, no question. I am confident in their future.