Theater: A Balancing Act
By Clara Grismer
It’s fall again, which means that anyone in theater hasn’t seen the sun for about a month. With early mornings and late rehearsals, the East Ridge musical cast, crew, and orchestra have been hard at work: running lines, remembering cues, and resolving chords. And as November closes in, so does The Little Mermaid. Without fail, it is always these last few weeks of rehearsal which see a shift in focus among those involved in the musical. For roughly half a month, they eat, sleep, and breathe in the world of the musical; this year it just happens to be a rather wet one: all shellfish, seabeds, and bubbles. Therefore, as The Little Mermaid community at East Ridge wades deeper under the sea, it is essential that they remember their air-tanks as they don their costume fish-fins.
An engrossing activity, the very nature of theater involves the whole person. It requires a presence that is not only physical and mental, but also emotional and individual. Fitting then, as the demand is not just in “doing” something, but in “being” someone, it has been integral that those involved have found balance in their own world first, in order to more healthily and effectively enter into the world of the musical. As with any activity, high schoolers are students before they are actors or teammates, but above that, they are human. And their humanity grants them a right to sanity.
Students in the cast have reflected upon how, especially this year with a shortened rehearsal schedule, stability as both a student and an actor has been a balancing act. In the words of Cali Yee, the actress playing Flounder in The Little Mermaid, “I love being a part of this musical, but with our shortened schedule and my obligations as a student, I know that I need to prioritize and use my time wisely”
Still, drama students are drama students. And as the theater community bursts with excitement for opening night (or maybe just the end of tech-week), it is imperative not that they temper their anticipation; that they realize they can only give as much to the musical as they give to their own lives.
For when priorities fall into place, so does the rest of life. And life has its seasons. For the musical students, now is a season of preparation and payoff. Yet, while the performers gear up for opening, they must appreciate their own worlds to best showcase the world of The Little Mermaid.
And while the actors have obvious roles that does not mean the average person does not play a part as well. Buying tickets and straightening ties for opening night, every person must appreciate the strength of the characters (both literally and figuratively) behind these students who have learned how to make this musical world a part of your world, if only for a few hours.