Thomsen Talk: May 2017
My mom thought I would grow up to be a criminal.
It’s true! When I was in kindergarten, I was always getting in trouble. There was one afternoon after snack time, my friend Angie was throwing her napkin into the large garbage can, and I wanted to see what she would look like inside the garbage can, so I gave her push, and I found out. The image is still very amusing in my mind. It wasn’t so amusing to the teacher. Throughout the school year, as a disciplinarian precaution, I had to sit isolated at a desk in the classroom while my classmates sat at tables.
If you know me, you probably find that story very hard to believe, but it is true. I was very rowdy. I like to say, “It was the theatre that saved me.” After seeing my first play, I started to create my own, and after being cast in my first play, I couldn’t wait to be in the next one. The theatre gave me an outlet to channel my energy, and it provided me with a different sense of discipline and structure. I had to be on time, I had to know my lines, I had to listen to the director. People were counting on me. I was a contributing factor to something greater than myself.
There were a few bumpy spots in second grade, but I’d say by third grade I had reinvented myself and had the squeaky clean image I have today. (I can hear your eyes rolling.)
Seriously though, isn’t the theatre great? If you’ve ever committed yourself mind, body and spirit to a show, you know what I’m talking about. While in a show, you discover that you are capable of incredible things; you want to do your best because those around you are doing their best. If you’ve never done it, and you’re thinking about it, go do it. Onstage in front of a live audience, there’s this electricity between you and your cast members, and between you and the audience, and when you turn it up a notch, they turn it up a notch, and vice versa. And you realize, “This is what it was all for! This is why we show up on time, why we learn our lines, why we commit hours upon hours to this… We are living this story together.” We’re affecting people while being affected.
So….. Here’s to you “theatre!” Thanks for keeping me out of prison!
(And to you the reader, if you are at the garbage can, and you see my coming near you, run!)
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