I think the phrase "theater kid" brings to mind a very particular personality for most of us. Maybe that character in your head is loud, flamboyant, & boisterous & adds a sprinkle of drama to every aspect of life. Maybe that personality is more laid back, but comes to life in big ways on stage. Regardless, that idea of a "theater kid" is a pretty basic stereotype perpetuated in chick flicks, rom coms & the like. But what about here at Mississippi College? What about the people in the plays around here?
One such person is Gabrielle Hyde. A junior pursuing a degree in Elementary Education, Gabrielle doesn't quite fit in to any sort of theater "box." She's involved in Neenamoosha Social Tribe & also works as a lifeguard at the Healthplex. "Involved" is also a good word to describe James Gibson, a sophomore Electrical Engineering major, member of Shawreth Men's Club, & Swannanoa Social Tribe Beau. Odds are he doesn't fit into your typical theater stereotype either. But that's the beauty of people in general: they never match up to any singular stereotype & "theater kids" aren't any different. I got to sit down with Gabrielle & James while they shared with me a whole bunch of insight into what it means to do theater here at MC.
Without further ado, may I present to you... "The Life of a Theater Kid!"
There is a lot to be gained from being involved in a production on campus. According to Gabrielle, you get to meet new people that you wouldn't ordinarily know. Theater attracts people of every shape & size & you spend so much time with them that through rehearsal after rehearsal, you become a family, regardless of any differences. Going to practice isn't a chore in the least then when you just want to be there with people you love. For James, this aspect of theater broadens your horizons. Interacting with people who believe differently than you, who make different life decisions that you, gives you a better outlook on life.
There are tons of other things to love about acting in plays within the theater department. James has participated in drama for most of his life & getting to continue it in college is everything to him. The opportunity to pursue a passion is incredible. Theater puts the pressure on individuals which a lot of actors enjoy. While there is certainly a team element in every production—obviously every cast member has to work together—every line you have is on you to memorize & deliver. There's a lot of self-reliance & you're responsible for you.
Gabrielle most loves how theater lets you express such a wide range of emotions, particularly those that would not be wise to unleash in any other public setting. It makes acting so much fun to get to step into character & feel those things. Plus, in expressing those raw emotions on stage, other people can empathize & you bring the whole audience into what your character is feeling.
Theater also teaches valuable lessons & grows its participants in huge ways. Gabrielle discussed how acting has taught her to live her life as though she's always on stage. You have the chance to show the love of Christ day in & day out to everyone around you, & people pay attention to your life whether you want them to or not. It's an encouragement to know that putting Jesus at center stage gives him the glory & other people can see that clearly.
According to James, theater instills a sense of confidence. Even if you're introverted or think you aren't very good at talking to a lot of people, you can own the stage. You can step out & perform without a thought of your own insecurities. Getting a role means that someone believes in you & you can learn about yourself from performing it.
Like any other commitment on campus, participating in theater takes up time & it's crucial you know how to manage it. Gabrielle advises having a calendar (or even two or three) to keep track of all your practices, meetings, & events for everything in which you're involved. James says that it takes waking up each morning & going over a checklist for the day to help him balance his time. Saying no to some things is perfectly appropriate because you can't do everything you're offered to do. You get to pick & that's what makes it fun.
In short, theater is a blast. Let no one tell you otherwise, despite the work it takes. It's always worth it in the end.
Also today is the premiere of A Midsummer Night's Dream, a witty & hilarious Shakespeare play. From someone who played a fairy with about five lines in the same production back in junior high, I can promise you this show will be worth your while. Make sure to find a chance to go see it this weekend with some friends! I'll see you there!
musical-lover & dramatic shower-singer