A Sign of Growth & the Purpose of Drama

I suppose it’s a good problem to have – too many actors and not enough roles.

It wasn’t always like this.

This week, I had to brutally turn away 27 young actors who wanted to be in my new play. I accepted the required 13. There were 13 boys and 27 girls who auditioned. Even that ratio is much better than it used to be.

The first year I directed one of my plays was in 2008. We barely had enough actors. I had to use one girl as a boy (which she played it brilliantly) and I had to beg and plead for another guy to join the cast.

We’ve come a long way from, and that’s a very good sign! I love to see the growth of drama because it offers so many amazing opportunities for growth. It helps second language learners with diction and fluency. It gives students a creative outlet, and it helps them learn how to express themselves. It teaches them about teamwork, and about relationship building and the world and the … there’s so many things.

But most importantly, in my estimation, is the ability through drama to impact an audience. To say something fresh and meaningful, to give people something to think about, issues to wrestle with, and purposes to ponder.

For me, drama for youth is not about dressing up as the Lion King and jumping around stage, telling a story that everyone has already seen 10 tens. It’s being original. Creative. Passionate. Purposeful. Life-changing.

I think the kids I’ve worked with over the years understand that, and they want to have a lot of fun while doing something meaningful. To me, that’s what drama is all about.

In this regards, I wish all 40 could have been involved. Next time.

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