WARNING: The opinions expressed below are DEFINITELY those of The CoLab Theatre Company! Learn more at www.colabtheatre.org!

Monday, March 8, 2010


"Play to your strengths."

Who's heard it?

Me too. And it always seems contrived. The moment a director or acting teacher (or my parents for that matter) would say this to me I immediately felt like they had copped out on me. I mean really, that's all you have? "Play to your strengths."?

In acting school I would often ask teachers and directors what they perceived those strengths to be. Answers varied depending on the class, what we were studying, who the teacher was etc. None of the answers were ever satisfying. The most infuriating answer came from the head of my theatre department (a man who I respect, but never got along with) my senior year. I was struggling to be able to "type" myself. I wasn't sure if I knew what my strengths were. I wasn't sure I knew how to play them, or use them to my advantage. And so I asked his opinion. And he looked at me with his stone cold stare and was quiet for a length of time just long enough for me to get nervous and enraged at the same time.

And then he said "Well, you're just going to have to figure that out for yourself."

And I LOST IT! Tears, big puffy red Irish angry face, yelling. I stormed out muttering something about paying ridiculous amounts of money to have acting teachers guide me and help me for an answer like that! What the fuck was I doing there!? And I was angry about that answer for a long time. And then I graduated and just sort of forgot about it, and went on my way, and started doing really cool and interesting things and didn't really give it much thought.

While working over the last year and a halfish, I decided my strengths came from me being logical and thought driven, I spend a lot of time considering and planning and debating. I like pro and con lists. I draft up budgets. I have 8 separate google calendars. I am always prepared and on time. I know, I sound like the most boring person on earth, right?

But I realized those things make me organized not strong.

The last few months have been a time of personal turmoil : some sadness, some frustration, some nostalgia, a whole lot of impatience (one of my definite weaknesses), and a decent amount of uncertainty. It has been, to say the least, a struggle. But it has also taught me, finally, what my strength is.

My heart.

So easy. So simple. Who knew?

What makes me strong is that I love. I love people, places, foods, hand written notes, songs, words, colors, smells, and on and on. I love lots of different kinds of things and anything at all. Not like ooooey gooey mush love. Not my style. Just deep simple quiet love that lives in my heart. And I realized, that is what makes me strong. That is the strength I need to play.

And it turns out my teacher was right, I did need to find that out for my self.

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