In Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Act II Scene VII, Jaques wrote:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.
As a father of a theater kid, I am behooved to share the success of the theater program at Chestatee High School in hopes of drawing more attention to the subtleties of such programs. My son plays the part of Pippin this weekend, and Pippin is searching for his corner in the sky. That’s really what life is about, right?
As I have watched Director Jeff Kelly prepare the cast and crew, it is indeed a reason to pause and reflect. That’s what theater makes you do: participate, pause and reflect. The audience is as important as the individual acts. As the audience, you join the cast in making meaning.
For me, I’ve stepped back to consider who is part of the production. The cast and crew represent perhaps the greatest diversity of any group in a high school. As they work together, the students learn that the world is full of all kinds of people with all kinds of issues in a multifaceted world. Participating in the arts, especially theater, amplifies it.
The students in the performance spend so much time together in rehearsals they become family. However, many of them would not know one another if it were not for the theatrical opportunity that brings them together. They would not seek each other out in hallways. Theater becomes the conduit to understand the human condition.
I’m confident that the gestalt of the performance and rehearsal makes these young people better humans. They will be prepared to consider other points of view in the future. They will be able step into another person’s skin and respond emphatically.
As we approach election day, it seems imperative for us to be able to shift positions in order to make good decisions. When you shift your position, it opens up possibilities and requires you to become part of the arena of humankind. It allows for us to change our mind or at least, understand.
If you can agree that “life is a stage” and many actors play a part, surely you can understand that you play a unique part in the unfolding acts. What role you play is up to you? Will you blindly dismiss the power of your persuasion? Everyone has a voice. As a community can we provide spaces and places for those voices to be raised and heard? Will we recognize that we all play a part? Its up to you.
Kudos to Jeff Kelly and CHS administration for their commitment to helping students play different roles. I’m certain they will be better human beings and that, in the end, we will all applaud if future generations understand that this day-to-day performance affects their next act.