9 Reasons You Should Get Involved in Theater
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9 Showstopping Life Lessons High School Theater Taught Me

There is much more to theater than meets the eye.


Imagine this: You are standing onstage in your proper position, fully costumed and in make-up, for the opening night of your show. The audience, not visible through the closed main curtain, talks excitedly amongst themselves. Everybody in the cast is bursting with energy trying to make sure everything is prepared and in its place, so the show can run smoothly. You and the rest of the cast have been preparing for this night for months, perfecting every line, every song, every dance. It all comes down to tonight. The lights dim and the crowd hushes, the theater filling with quiet anticipation in both actors and audience. For a moment, the only sound you can hear is the buzzing in your head (from excitement or nerves, you can't tell). Suddenly, the curtain slides open and you're off!

I got into theater my freshman year of high school. At that time, it was not necessarily out of love of theater itself. I hoped that I could improve my acting skills so I could eventually get rich and famous. Needless to say, that did not happen. However, about halfway through the first musical, I realized that I genuinely liked theater and proceeded to get involved in every show after that. It was not until I graduated high school that I realized just how much it taught me about other people and myself, and it can teach you too. Here are 9 things theater taught me about life:

1. Commitment

Commitment fosters success. We had rehearsals three to five days per week (depending on proximity to the show's opening). The more committed each cast member was to the show, the better the show was. It taught me to finish what I started.

2. Hard Work

In rehearsals, you have to learn new choreography/lines/blocking while remembering everything you have already learned, and that takes practice both in and out of rehearsal. It gets hard, but I learned that the more effort I put into things, the better the results were.

3. Patience

Nothing good comes out of impatience. Through countless rehearsals where things went wrong or people got on each other's nerves or fought, I learned that patience will get you farther in life and help you build healthy relationships with others.

4. Flexibility

When I first started theater, I was about as flexible as a metal pole. If I didn't get the exact part I wanted in a play or things went wrong (as they often do), I would get super frustrated with people. Eventually, I learned that not getting the role I wanted was not the end of the world and that there are so many other ways to enjoy life, even when it did not turn out the way I hoped it would.

5. Time Management

I still struggle with this one, to be honest. However, I learned how to prioritize my homework and plan my day according to rehearsal and school. That skill has followed me into college as well.

6. Teamwork

Any production takes enormous teamwork to put on. Not only must actors learn to communicate and feed off each other's energy onstage, but techies (those who do behind-the-scenes work) must communicate with everyone to make sure the lights, sound, costumes, makeup, props, and scene changes run smoothly. I learned how to work with other people.

7. How to get back up...literally

In theater, not only does everyone make mistakes, but they must learn how to deal with them and move on, sometimes publicly. There was one time where I accidentally ran right into the main character and fell flat on the stage...on opening night. Everybody in the audience saw me. The only thing I could do was get back up and move on with the show. That goes for life as well: when you make a mistake, get back up and move on.

8. Friendship

Theater life gave me friends that I still keep in touch with, even years out of high school. Despite all the drama that comes from people having to interact with each other for long periods of time almost every day, we learned to communicate and work through our issues in order to keep up our friendships.

9. How to get out of my comfort zone.

Every aspect of theater pushes me out of my comfort zone. Auditions always made me want to vomit, the thought of getting my lines wrong terrified me, and putting myself in front of unforgiving audiences to be judged made me confront my biggest fears. Each time I did a show, my fears ebbed away, leaving behind new skills and experiences I never thought I would have.

I only hope that others can learn as much from theater as I have. These lessons have all carried me farther in life than I could imagine. Every friend I made, every rehearsal, and every performance have all made me the person I am today.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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