One of the things I do at my day job is co-direct the student dramatic production. It can be tremendously frustrating, but it’s also very rewarding. The kids put everything they have into the production and our most recent play was no exception. However, this year, my co-director and I tried something different. We brought on a student director, student producer and student technical director. Each of the positions was filled by an experienced senior and they were expected to take on portions of the production. To say they did well would be an understatement, but it was not an easy road.
The senior directors learned a lot from the experience and some of it had to do with the people. They learned who was easy to work with, who respected others and that sometimes working with your friends isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They learned that if something appears easy, there’s usually a tremendous amount of preparation behind the scenes so it will look that way.
Producing the show ended up being a good life lesson for the three directors because ultimately they learned that life is all about layers. What people see, whether it be a show, a paper for a class, a display in a mall, a movie, a book, or a night out with friends, each “thing” has some complexity and if it goes well it’s because something went into making it so before hand.
They walked out of the theater last month feeling good about how the show went, and they should. But I hope they remember how hard it was–that the good feelings came from the hard work and the frustration of getting those layers in place. I hope they realize that they put themselves on the line, that they risked failure and succeeded in spite of the difficulties.
Taking chances, leaving our comfort zone and really embracing risk is when growth takes place. I’m a firm believer that I will be “growing-up” forever. There will always be new challenges, new things to learn and new ways to put myself out there. The young directors just began their adult journey, learning more about the people in their lives and about themselves.
It’s a beginning and as they look down the road they should see that their lives will be made up of layers, just like the play they put on the stage–there will be a cast of characters, things to juggle and problems to solve.
And there will always be something new to learn.