I was teaching a college audition class - an after school class that is designed to prepare students who wish to study theatre in college for their audition process.
It was a lovely class, full of the type of students who made you feel bright about the future.
One by one I called them up to perform their monologue in front of me and their classmates, and I was impressed and inspired by their dedication to their craft.
And then, one student came onstage, and immediately said, “I’m sorry, I can’t.”
I was confused.
“I don’t know. You know…do the monologue. I don’t want to fail," she said.
Fail? She hadn't even started!
I coached her through her audition piece, reminding her that the rehearsal room was the time to fail. It was the time to try, to make choices, to figure out her connection to the piece - and through the mishaps comes clarity.
She was great.
But then it made me think - how many of us say “I can’t” before we even try? How many times do you talk yourself out of trying something new, or going after a dream, even before you get started? How many times do you make yourself smaller?
There is beauty in the rehearsal process of theatre. Not many professions get the ability to show up for work and make a mistake, and not feel…judged. Or that they’ll get in trouble. Or that they’ll lose their job.
The beauty of the rehearsal room is not lost on me.
But perhaps we can take the building blocks of theatre and bring them to our everyday lives - and encourage those around us to try and reach for their dreams, to try something new, and give them the courage to fail - knowing that those around he/she/they will help them to stand back up.
With failure their comes growth, (one can only hope). But we cannot fail unless we try.
So here's to trying, and encouraging those around us to do the same.