What Color is Your Parachute – Story 7

As suggested by my uncle, I picked up a copy of the award-winning novel What Color is Your Parachute to help figure out what it is exactly I want for my life. The book is recommending that I write a series of seven stories in order to identify some of my own personal qualities. While it doesn’t suggest posting the works publicly, I thought it would be a great opportunity to post more content to this blog. Enjoy 🙂

Story 7 (thank god): 

I recall this memory perfectly. I was called into another coworker’s classroom, sat down for a “chat.” This is usually the point where I think I did something wrong, but it was the opposite. She asked: “We want you to take on the junior high one act. Okay? Okay.” (Cue sobbing from The Fault in Our Stars). As with every other employment I’ve had, it’s truly was a baptism by fire. I had no idea what I was doing or what to do. How do I find a script? With what budget? With how many kids?

I found my first script. I found willing souls. Rehearsals began. Imagine a 22-year-old standing in front of 14 adolescents thinking “Oh my god. They are going to eat me alive. What the heck are we going to do.” After a deep breath (or five), I began by having my assistant (thank god for her) warm them up vocally. The show was, for lack of better words, successful for the mess it began with.

This year, things dramatically improved. Perhaps it was from being in a show myself the summer prior, but my whole pedagogy was improved. I found my script about a week earlier (don’t judge me), I found a cast (bigger than my first year), and my show was budgeted by the school (which meant the sky was the limit). At the beginning of each practice, I started out introducing them to some stage ettiquite, including how to speak, how to move, and so on. I also did something I didn’t the previous year: I blocked the scenes. I knew what I wanted and I made it happen. The kids took the direction (though crazily given) and they made it work. When there was a problem with where someone was going, we figured it out and found a solution. When I hated something, which was often, we stopped everything and tried it again. The second show, The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon, calls for Cinderella and Prince to dance. The casted Prince is 14 … his species doesn’t dance yet (still not sure when that ability develops). Yet, here I am on stage dancing my life away, showing this kid how to do a simple Viennese Waltz. After I think about thirty minutes (again, thanks to my assistents for taking the other kids), I was successful. The best part was that in the actual performances, this scene looked great because I was so meticulous in the craft of it.

Honestly, what I did in those two hours after school every Monday through Thursday could be done all day, every day, for the rest of my life. It was the most rewarding experience I had in my previous employment. I saw the results from mine (and their) hard work.


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