All the World’s a Stage

I’ve recently rediscovered my love for the preforming arts. Believe it or not I used to be a theater kid in high school; I would do the fall play every year and I also was part of a theater class for about six years. I only did one musical (because I was born with the singing ability of a 13 year-old boy who just had his tonsils taken out and is simultaneously going through puberty), but plays were always a lot of fun for me. I’ve always been the shy girl and being on stage was my way of being heard. I loved having the chance to transform into a different person and recite words that weren’t mine. I liked it because if I said something stupid it didn’t matter because it wasn’t me talking, it was my character. If I said something dumb then I was the funny one and I got some laughs and if I said something cool then I had a moment of being witty. It was freeing and all the fear I normally have speaking in front of my peers vanished all at once the second I stepped out from behind the curtain. It was like a breath of fresh air. My teachers and classmates were shocked that I actually had a voice. I remember my Spanish teacher walking up to me after a production and saying, “You can talk!” (Yeah, I was that shy).

So why did my love disappear and why  has it come back all of a sudden? Well, it never actually went away I just took some time off from acting after I graduated high school because I was trying to figure out college and what I wanted to do with my life. My hobby got pushed back, but recently I’ve started watching musical theater again via Youtube and after getting the opportunity to see live productions of Julius Caesar and Wicked in Chicago, that spark reignited. I rediscovered just what made me fall in love with the theater all those years ago when I was 9 and I saw high school kids perform skits at the library. I loved seeing stories come to life and I wanted to be a part of that. I knew instantly that this was my way to speak and I’d be speaking words that may actually matter to someone; words that might change someone.

I’m a firm believer that books can change lives. I believe movies can too and theater is just another extension of storytelling. Theater is unique though because you can go to the same play 100 times with the same performers, same script, same props, same director, same everything, but it will be different each night. With a live performance things happen. Sometimes a line is forgotten. Sometimes a cue is missed. Sometimes there’s a tech malfunction or maybe a line is said differently. Maybe a performance is off one night, but breathtaking the next. Live performances are unpredictable which makes them exciting and interesting. I like to think that those mistakes reflect real life. After all, I said these are stories coming to life and life is unpredictable full of little mistakes because it isn’t polished or edited. Even if you have a set plan and everything seems to be in order, little malfunctions still happen.

Those malfunctions are the best part though. How boring would it be if everything went exactly according to plan? Where would all the stories be? One of the best parts for me being in a play was laughing about all the little mishaps that took place. Of course, all of us wanted the run to go smoothly because no one wants their play ruined, but sometimes you just have to laugh at the unexpected turns. If not, then you’d drive yourself crazy and become bitter over something that can’t be fixed. Shouldn’t life be treated that way as well?

If the opportunity rises up, I’d love to get back on stage even if the role is small. I just want to be a part of the stage’s atmosphere and hopefully make a difference to someone with my 2 or 3 lines. For now, the plan is to watch and enjoy all the brilliant productions that are currently out there and continue to feel inspired by the talented performers and well written stories that they bring to life. I also just want to encourage anyone who’s reading this to check out some musicals or plays even if it’s just on Youtube.  I hope that these live tellings of stories will inspire you too or at least provide you with 2 hours of entertainment. If theater isn’t your thing then I’m sorry and I’m not sure why you’re still reading this, but thank you and I’m glad I was able to hold your attention! Theater is something fun for me and I can find a lot of meaning in it; even if I’m never on stage again, I hope that I’ll always get chances to experiences musicals and plays because they’re a huge reason as to why I’m even writing right now. Live performances were just another gateway into my inspiration to start telling my own stories and they always will be.

Why We Need Art

It’s no secret that English majors receive flack for being, well, English majors. We’re easy targets to make fun of because we’re not out saving lives, finding cures, or using “real” brain power. We choose to spend our time in fiction rather than reality. We are pointless, useless, and stupid for majoring in something we love.

I only have one retort: English is not pointless. I’ve always seen literature as a form of art and can you imagine this world if there was no art? We’d be living in the most boring, mechanical, colorless world imaginable. Since the dawn of time generation after generation has been intrigued by story telling and that story telling has become our history. Myths and legends passed down for centuries to inspire us, warn us, and educate us. If we lived in a world without art and stories, then we’d lose all of that depth. We’d lose inspiration and imagination. We’d lose so much that makes this world beautiful and beauty is a word I rarely use when discussing reality. Literature, film, and art in general opens up a world that mirrors our own life, but adds creativity that causes us to philosophize and look at the internal; it causes us to look at the emotional and the subconscious allowing us to discover just who we are, not what we’re made of.

Match and science are important, don’t get me wrong. Both help in creating wonderful inventions and discoveries, but what makes the world so interesting is that we have two different minds that create in two amazing yet unique ways. We have the logical and the creative. The world needs both which is why the creative side shouldn’t be shunned because people in that mindset dare to use their imagination and look into the internal rather than the external. What’s wrong with creating something astonishing out of a blank piece of paper? What’s wrong with creating a story that opens up the minds of others and causes them to think deeper and discover meaning in their life? People need that door opened; we need ways to escape the mechanical and go into the philosophical in order to find hidden truths that the logic mind could miss.

Story telling also does have the ability to save lives. One novel, one sentence, can change a person’s entire perspective. Maybe that one perfectly worded paragraph is what someone needed to hear and because of that they kept moving on. Those who know me well or have read my other posts are probably aware that I can be a pessimist. I have difficulty seeing the wonder that the world supposedly posses (although I have improved), but whenever I read or watch a film I see that beauty. Even if the story is depressing with no happy ending, I still see the mystical side of the world. I see how beautiful and tragic and amazing life can be. I feel hope when I read a good story and I see that hope because I see how someone was able to create a beautiful reflection of the world around me out of a blank piece of paper. I see how orchestrated each word is and how each one harmonizes with the next. I see a piece of art and realize that if something that amazing and intriguing can be present in the world, then there’s definitely a hidden beauty within reality.

As weird as it sounds, I’m thankful for people like Socrates or Oscar Wilde. I’m thankful Ray Bradbury decided to write books for a living and I’m thankful that there are people who want to create philosophies and stories and reveal the hidden beauty in this world. They supply life with color and inspiration and that’s something I don’t ever want to see die out. I love art and film and writing. I love stories that open your mind up to a million possibilities and cause you to reflect on your own day to day situations. Art is something that needs to be preserved because if it were to fade away so would any beauty that may be left.

Think of the painter who is able to capture the glistening of the ocean at sunset or the soft glow of snow on a December night. Art has a way of bringing that beauty to our eyes because we tend to look past that charm when we get busy in our daily routines. Art reminds us that life isn’t as awful as we say it is. Sure, bad things happen and the world can appear ugly and ruthless, but there will always be a strand of light. That light is something only art can truly capture and if we were to lose art, we would lose any recognition of that beauty. The world would be colorless and robotic. Logic is a true gift; math and science are fantastic and world  changing, but art is just as vital and deserves to be present and create a healthy balance of logic and creativity.

I find a sense of peace within literature and I hope that other people can find the same comforting feeling within tattered pages as well. I hope people can begin to appreciate art and open up their eyes to the meaning and inspiring ideas that art can supply. I hope people never stop painting, writing, photographing, or designing. I hope art doesn’t die out because our world would lose much more than we could afford. Art needs to be recognized and those who follow the path of creativity within the arts shouldn’t be shunned or seen as less important or less intelligent. I personally believe it takes a true genius to be able to discover and capture life’s hidden beauties whether they be tragic or simply amazing. I only hope that genius begins to be appreciated and continues to be inspired.