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My college pal Kendra wrote a hilarious and way-too-true blog post – 10 Ways Being a Theatre Major Ruined My Life. Read it here first, and enjoy my point-by-point rebuttal below.
Then go back and read all the posts on Kendragarden.com – she’s a whiz!
1. I was fortunate to have an amazing teacher and mentor in Larry Hovis. The primary key to success he imparted was being “On time, prepared, and sober.” It seems simple, right? But so much of my success in life occurred because I showed up ready to rock when other people didn’t. I’m not always sober, so I show up early and spend a little extra time preparing. Rest In Peace, Larry. We miss you.
2. In the business world I am as quirky as they come. As a theatre student at Southwest Texas State University, I couldn’t even medal in the Weirdo Olympics. But after all that time with my freak flag unfurled – I can’t pull it down. I learned who I am, flaws and all, and fuck anyone that can’t hang.
3. I got it all out of my system. I hate karaoke, dancing, and anything that draws attention to me. That stuff is for stage time. When I’m not on stage DON’T look at meeeeeeeeeee… (Curls into a ball and slides under the table (that draws *more* attention to me? Oh god…I *am* dramatic!)).
4. I have real (as in tangible) life skills. If you think majoring in theatre involved blow-off classes and lots of booze, pot and sex – you are 100% correct. But it occasionally involved difficult classes, like Lighting Design and Theatre History, taught by brilliant (if somewhat stoic) professors who found actors to be the least useful creatures on the planet. I was in no way funny or charming to them. I learned to do the hard work and not fall back on my amiable personality and rugged good looks sense of humor. I learned to work well with others in high-pressure situations. I learned to get up in the morning no matter how late I was up the night before. I did have to learn all of the “real” life stuff after college, but fuck other peoples’ definition of real life anyway.
5. I can’t enjoy passive entertainment without casting a particularly critical eye toward the acting. I’m irritating at movies, plays, and in front of the TV. But in real life, I know when I’m being bull-shitted. This comes in especially handy as a father.
6. A couple of times a week, I have a variation on the same nightmare. Either it’s opening night and I forgot to memorize my lines or I’m all of a sudden on stage in a corset but I don’t know what play we’re doing and no one will tell me. Then I remember…I can improvise my balls off! Let’s make this dream about my wife in nerd glasses on a skateboard…rrrrrrrrrrawr!
7. I memorized lines. At parties. While drinking. So now, everything that enters my brain sticks. Songs, movies, the way you weren’t 100% sincere when you congratulated me. All of it. This one is somewhat dubious when you watch a lot of The Wiggles. Beyond that, though, I remember it all. Useful? Occasionally. Impressive? It beats talking about the weather.
8. I am incapable of taking a normal picture. In Kendra’s list this is meant to be negative somehow. I don’t see the problem. I am incapable of taking a normal picture!!! Wheeeeee…!!!
9. I can totally play it cool around minor celebrities.
10. When people ask what I majored in at college, I “act” and say, “business.”
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
– MARK TWAIN
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”
– JACK KEROUAC
8PM. Time to go to work.
I’ll make a few mistakes tonight. I always do. “The master weaver incorporated the mistakes of his students into a larger pattern.”
A pair of Master Weavers. I get to work with awesome people.
Time to head home. At least I got to wear sneakers tonight.
Late night cut-ups & hiccups. Nonstop hustle. All for the love of the game.
“Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go so much further than people with vastly superior talent.”
– SOPHIA LOREN
“My passions were all gathered together like fingers that made a fist. Drive is considered aggression today; I knew it then as purpose.”
– BETTE DAVIS
I want to write about the great and powerful thing that listening is. And how we forget it. And how we don’t listen to our children, or those we love. And least of all – which is so important, too – to those we do not love. But we should. Because listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force.
Brenda Ueland, from The Art of Listening.