Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Lesson learned

Laura and I are both working on the Christian Youth Theater production of West Side Story -- one of my favorite musicals of all time (mostly because I was in my high school production of it way back when). Laura, who was hoping to land a principal role in the show, auditioned. But because of her schedule conflicts (working at camp, mostly), that was not going to be possible. She got a role as one of the Shark girls and is one of the quartet of singers in the famous 'America' scene/song.

I remember telling Laura that no one gets a lead role every time they audition. It just doesn't happen. There are a lot of talented people out there so the competition is very tough. So she needs to get comfortable with the idea of being an ensemble cast member sometimes, finding the joy in those roles, and using them to learn more about her craft and widen her versatility as an actor.

Good words I thought. Little did I know I was going share her experience as well.

Just a few weeks ago, I got asked to be the 'backup sound tech' for the show. I agreed, thinking that I could contribute to the show by running the sound board and making sure it all sounded great. Lil ole me, jumping to the rescue!

I have to say that I had to take my own words to heart. I figured I would walk in there and they would be happy that my 'skills' were part of the team. But what I realized was that they really did not need me at all (other than to be the backup in case their main sound tech could not make a performance). And they also had a professional sound engineer there to set up all the gear, balance everything, and ensure the quality of the sound production.

So I have to admit, I was feeling like a 'third wheel'. But then I realized that, like Laura, my role was not to be 'the sound guy'. My role was a supporting one and I needed to 'lose the ego' and figure out how I could best fulfill that support role. So I listened to Dan and Wes. I did what I was told. I determined one thing I could do was to define and write up all the sound cues in the script since I knew the show so well. So I did that. And it wsa appreciated. I figured out how to contribute. I also learned a lot more about sound design from Dan which is a real bonus!

So my job in the show is to call the sound cues that I wrote for Wes. (And I will get one day where I will actually run the board because Wes has to miss one performance.)

It is good to be reminded that in the grand scheme of things, you are just another cog in the big wheel and it is best to keep your ego 'in check' so that you have a chance to learn something new, improve yourself, support others, and enjoy life.

Humble Pie! Mmmmmm Mmmmmm Good!

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