After eight weeks of constant singing and dancing, losing twelve pounds and attaining a number of knee problems, I’d like to announce one very important lesson non-theatre students need to start noticing – theatre majors work really hard to put on a good show.
Little did I know one hot June afternoon that I, a journalism major with no musical theatre experience, was auditioning for some of the most rigorous, time-consuming, mentally draining and socially awkward encounters of my college career.
On the first day of “Cats the Musical” rehearsal, I knew I had just entered a world where competition, drama, love and passion were suddenly swirled into one room. The constant laughter and inside jokes made me feel completely out of place and yet I stayed. The pressure to sing your best made me feel unqualified and yet I sang. The strange stares from across the white room wondering who I was made me feel uncomfortable and yet I stuck it out.
Yes, the theatre department is an entirely new world. However, it’s also the most hardworking and dedicated departments on this campus.
To put it in the words of “Cats” Director Jeremy Varner, the Homecoming Musical is a beast. Every cast member has placed countless hours in each individual costume, set piece, visual effects and dance numbers which is why each musical put on by the department looks amazing.
The theatre department sometimes gets a bad rap compared to other majors.
No, they aren’t saving lives across the border, becoming the future bankers or accountants of H&R Block or campaigning to be the next senator. But at least, they are actually performing what they want to do. Unlike some, they are proactive and actively seek the characters they would like to portray. Compared to others, they have to watch what they eat every day to make sure they can fit into the spandex suit and sing for 90 minutes straight. They are setting scenarios where people can escape the chaos of the world.
Frankly, at least they have talent.
Night after night, everyone is pushed to be excellent singers, dancers, actors and professional human beings ready to embark on the next big thing. We were focused and craved for the possibility of free time even when we knew it wouldn’t happen. And after every rehearsal when our bodies were constantly touching with sweat running down the sides of our faces, my peers would nonchalantly pat me on the back and say “OK. See you tomorrow.” As if the boundaries of physicality and personal space were not as important as getting the lines right or scene correct.
The next time you see a poster for a play or musical put on by the department, make sure you understand how much work has gone into it. Appreciate the value each cast member has placed on it and remember they are putting on a show with you in mind.
The theatre department is one of the most hard working, talented, unorthodox, encouraging, extraverted groups on campus. How many of us can say the same thing about our own department? And no, I don’t have time to wait for your response. I have rehearsal in an hour.