Over the last few years we have gained many eager and talented young actors into our talent pool. Part of that has been the incorporation of Phoenix Repertory Players into our schedule, which included some of our adult actors working with their company in the spring production and some of their young talent gaining roles in the shows we are doing in our Theatre Rocks! season. While we have always felt a family vibe, the infusion of this young talent has given our
theatre family a new dynamic. That’s what connection does.
We have also seen how beneficial it is to all the actors of all these age ranges to work together and learn from each other. The (sometimes) older, more seasoned actors set a fine example of talent that is excelling and polished to the (sometimes) younger, “eager to learn” actors, but less experienced. In the same way, the young creatives are full of life, enthusiasm and high expectation. They are not so concerned about “how they did”, but just excited and ready to do it again. They are pliable and willing to try new things as actors taking risks to just be out there,
onstage, emotionally exposed. It is a great reminder to a seasoned actor, don’t lose your “inner child” or the willingness to take risks.
I love the way multi-generational casts not only sharpen one another but they are a true
reflection of real life, daily life. And although many of us have an adult dominated work
environment, we have to admit we experience great levels of all ranges of emotion in a multi-generational setting.
Then there are the “ahh haa” moments. The big moment when the lightbulb goes on. We’ve all had them, I suspect. I do believe that when you have experienced one yourself, especially in a given field, you more easily notice when others are having such a moment. It’s really fun to see
a young actor have that experience. I remember my own when I first performed a Joan of Arc monologue in a contest. I was nineteen. Bill had his own such moment in a speech competition doing a comedy routine at age fourteen. It’s an awakening of something inside of you that you
know you were wired for, and you know you must do more of it…
As an actor, or any creative (in any business), there are always those around you that need a word of instruction or encouragement. You might be just the one that helps someone feel accepted, that they belong, and have found their “tribe.” Or you might be the catalyst for someone’s “ahhh haa” moment like my girl friend’s mother who helped me choose a monologue
and then directed me as Joan of Arc into a winning, life changing moment. Or Bill’s teacher who encouraged him to enter the speech competition (or the fellow student who challenged him to try.)
That’s what connection is all about, and we were created for it.