PQD: A little Mark Twain wisdom

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belongs to irishviews.com
belongs to irishviews.com

The rose is fairest when it is budding new,

and hope is brightest when it dawns from fears.

Walter Scott

Chains. The common metaphor for what ties us down, hopefully not physically, but mentally/emotionally. I know I had a topic similar to this one in a previous blog, but the same anxiety about the future has reared its ugly schedule book.

There always seems to be a never ending time crunch that we seem to be under. Here I picture Samson and his pillars (oy vey). My recent theater endeavors and work schedule has left me in a blistering, and continual, vacuum that sucks up every last minute of free time. I “enjoy” work six days a week, and community theater in the evening hours. By the time I return home after a day well spent it is already ten at night. The funny thing is: I always saw my father collapse into his arm chair, start up the TV, and almost assuredly fall asleep within the hour. I thought that would never happen to me. Lo and behold; I wake up from drool down my chin and the evening news on…

But I am quickly diverging from my main point. With my work schedule it seems like the time I have to myself is nil. And with that comes a certain amount of stress, because you begin to grow weary without that time to decompress. But I was especially stressed with the shows I have been co-directing.

As of right now I have just finished with Beauty and the Beast Jr., and I have another show about to go up in 6 weeks. As a director the responsibility is that of a quarterback: you pass or fail (pun intended). I was constantly worried whether the kids would be able to pull off a great show, and the higher ups wouldn’t lash out at us for a poor performance. We had so many things to do for Beast that it seemed like we were rolling the mill stone up Mt. Fuji. I had let that anxiety consume my hope for the next day. These were my chains.

There is one lesson that I have learned from this entire mountain of stress: it spawns the most beautiful things. It is because we worry that we wish to succeed. As an actor the common theme is: “if you are not worried about putting on a good show, then you aren’t doing it right”. Okay, that is a bit cliché, but if you think about it, it makes some sense. We worry because we care. I wanted all of those 60+ kids to be brilliant on the stage, and I felt if they failed it was because I had missed some key responsibilities a director. “Will they be ready for opening night?” was a common theme for me.

Come opening night… They were brilliant. All of my fears were eased and it was replaced with hope and joy. It was my profound pleasure to watch as the magic of theater came alive, and afterwards the artistic director of the theater complimented us saying “Children’s theater is easy, but GOOD children’s theater is what we strive for, and that’s what this show has done”. I was so proud, not of myself, but of everyone who collaborated with us to make it happen. As the quote above eloquently puts it “hope is brightest when it dawns from fears”.

My fears were my chains; my hope and optimism, I found, have been the keys.

In this quote the author, Walter Scott, evokes the image of a rose. As we all know: a flower is a gentle and fragile mass. So is our hope at times. We wilt under the pressure of difficulty and close into ourselves under the night of tribulation. But when the sun rises on us there we regain our strength and vigor for life and challenge.

            Today, dear Jesters and Harlequins, I urge you to unlock the padlock of fear with the key of you optimism.


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