Yesterday marked the beginning of the first of three tech weeks we have in the next month. P., TM, and D. are all in Charlotte's Web and have their performances this weekend. It is TM and D.'s first experience doing a full play. Tech weeks can be grueling... long hours every day, having to pack lunches (which is a real pain for those of us who never have to pack a lunch), more driving than usual, and some very tired children by the end of the week. But in the end it is all worth it. The directors of our homeschool theater group are excellent and encourage all of the actors, even the youngest, to do the very best jobs they possibly can.
I was a musician and also very shy, so the idea of being on stage never appealed to me. But, I have to say, after watching my children learn the craft of acting, that I am impressed by what my children have gained from the experience.
First, I am always impressed with how comfortable my children, especially the oldest ones, are in front of people. Having to do any form of public speaking holds no terrors for them. They have learned to be self-possessed, articulate, and natural in front of an audience. And, you can hear them. Second, they have had the chance to get to know some wonderful plays, often containing language that is considered "difficult". There is nothing like having to memorize something to really make it yours. Third, they have had to do the emotionally exercise of figuring out why a person would do or act a certain way. Being able to put oneself in another's shoes in order to portray that person gives an emotional insight into others that might not be there otherwise. And finally, they have learned about hard work and working together as a team. There is a huge amount of effort needed to produce a polished final product. My children have been able to see the direct connection between hard work and the joy of a job well done. By negative example, they have also seen how someone who doesn't pull their own weight hinders the group and are motivated to not be that person.
I write this to remind myself that it is all worth it when I become weary of wonky schedules, too much driving, and overly tired children. Long about Thursday of tech week I wonder why on earth I thought this was a good idea. But then the performances come and the lights go up and I am transfixed as I watch my children briefly become someone else. The joy they experience from hearing the applause of a job well done erases the memory of the long previous week and I know we will be back again for another round.
(If you're in the area and want information about Charlotte's Web, Much Ado About Nothing, or An Ideal Husband, email me and I will get it to you.)
Remember that I will be delivering Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes on Thursday morning. I will be happy to take yours if you get it to me before then.