A Life Lesson from the Theater

You’ll find that many actors, whether drawn to the stage or film, will most likely say that they were shy and insecure as children.

For me, it was very much the same.

I believe the soul of an artist always senses that they are different than most people. They know that how they feel inside is not the norm, so it’s challenging for them to feel as though they fit in.

I always knew that I had something inside of me that needed to be expressed, however, the venue of that expression remained elusive.

It felt as if a big ball of energy was forming, just waiting for the right opportunity to burst forth.

When I was in junior high school, I found out that the drama department was holding auditions for the play “The Night of January 16th” by Ann Ryan. I had no idea what the play was about, but for some reason, felt the need to march my ass into the audition that afternoon.

I remember standing in a horizontal line across the edge of the stage with about ten other students. I was holding a copy of the script and shaking like a leaf. The director was seated in the audience as he called out our names individually, and then had us read a scene from the play.

When he called my name, I will remember that moment for as long as I live…

It was as if a power that came from deep inside me, suddenly burst forth…and literally took over my entire body. I mean, I could hear myself speaking the dialogue, but it felt as though some other force was actually making it happen.

It shocked the hell out of me.

And I thought to myself, “Oh my god…where the did that come from?”

After I finished the scene, there was a pause.

Then I looked at the director…and he looked at me, and I think he said something like, “Very good, Ron”

And in a split second, I felt this deep “knowing“…that I had been given a venue for my expression.

After one of the evening performances, I remember my history teacher coming backstage. He walked up to me and shook my hand and kindly said, “Ron…your going to have a professional acting career one of these days.”

At the time, it was the most validating thing that anyone could have ever said to me.

And he was correct…because after I completed high school, I moved to New York City and got my training to become a professional actor.

And like most actors, I had tremendous highs and lows during my career.

I learned something very valuable from my 25 years in the theater.

It really wasn’t the "professional career" that ever validated my expression on this planet.

It will always be the expression of the creative energy itself….

18 comments

  1. Isn't it amazing the differences and similarities in how we chase that which is inside of us all?

    Passion -- it's a wonderful thing.
    Being passionate about who you are, about what's IN you that's needing to be brought to the forefront so other's get a chance to be 'touched'.....VERY cool and awesome thing...

    :-)

    Thanks for that affirmation, sir.
    Really.
    I mean that.

    *HUGE hugs*

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  2. it has never been the creation, it has always been the process for me too.
    This made me smile...
    How wonderfully aware you are my friend. To be able to touch that part of your heart and know what the fire in it that burns is.
    thank you so much for the share!

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  3. Acting is a wonderful form of exrepssion! I have done some and really enjoyed it. I was Greta from the Sound of Music and an orphan in Annie and in Oliver. (all as a child)

    I think it's wonderful you act...it's so much fun, so much creative freedom and a wonderful thing to do! Thanks for sharing, Ron!

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  4. WOW, what a wonderful way to explain how you feel about your experiences.
    Really great!

    I am probably just the opposite. I love, love, love people but when I have to stand up in front of a group of them (like at one of my home jewelry parties or to read outloud at maybe a wedding? or something like that) I almost freeze. I get shaky and tongue tied. Even having to talk to that florist on the phone yesterday, if it's something confrontational, I am a wreck. I get very angry and stammer and stumble. It's terrible. That's probably one of my dislikes about myself, not being in control of some situations.

    How wonderful it must be to feel having that inner power take over and allow you to show your creativity the way you did for so many years. I know you said you stayed at P.D.'s house so you must have some fabulous stories to tell of other times/shows.

    What made you leave acting and move, or vice versa?
    How did you get into your current job? Retail still gives you the opportunity to interact with the public however I suppose it's not so easy alot of the time.

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  5. What is it with us timid, shy, sensitive kids, that compels us to express ourselves through art? You're balls out right about that desire. Act, write, paint, create - we must do it. But always with a "mask" on. Not that wearing the mask is a bad thing because it's not a deceptive mask more of a modesty mask, I think.

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  6. Morning Mel~

    BEAUTIFULLY stated!!!

    You said it Mel...it's the PASSION...it's always about the PASSION!

    And the creative energy will always take me to the venues where I can share that passion!

    And as Sorrow shared...it's the process.

    Thanks so MUCH for always sharing your passion, Mel!

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  7. Morning Lady Sorrow~

    I know, being an artist...you so understand!

    It's never about the actual creation...it's the process for me too!

    And surrendering to it...

    Thank you for sharing your passions, dear lady...it touches so many!

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  8. Howdy Rhea~

    Hey...something tells me that you're a wonderful actor! I can always feel your creative energy!

    Yes...acting is such a creative freedom!

    WOW...Greta from The Sound of Music and Annie in Oliver!!! Two classics! Can you believe that I've never actually seen the movie The Sound of Music all the way through???

    I should be shot!

    Thanks for stopping by today, Rhea...always nice sharing with you!

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  9. Morning Crystal Chick~

    Hey...I've got news for you...standing up in front of a large group of people scares me too! And for as long as I was performing on stage...that fear NEVER left me. I think most actors will probably share the same thing.

    (I would sometimes feel like I would vomit before a performance)

    It was always the challenge of trusting...and letting go...that made me keep going. Because once I eventually got out on stage...this "Power" that I spoke about...always supported and guided me!

    The reason I eventually left the theater...is because I knew that it was time for me to take another "creative energy path."

    I knew in my heart that I had been given all the tools I needed through acting. However, it was a VERY difficult thing to let go of it. It was my life for so many years and I never thought that I could be fullfilled doing anything else.

    In 1997 I was guided to move into the "energy healing arts"...so this is where I am today. I still get a bit of acting in, because I sometimes teach Reflexology to students at a massage school. I also enjoy doing presentations about Reiki and Reflexology. And acting gave me the tools to be able to do this.

    I've discovered that I'm really not meant to express creative energy in one venue...it moves through me in many.

    And it's made my life so RICH in experiences!

    (but who knows...one day I may actually return to the stage!?!)

    Thank you for sharing your passions too, M. When I look at your jewelry, greeting cards, and photography...I always FEEL your creative energy flowing so beautifully!

    Thanks, dear lady!

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  10. Ahhhh...Ron. :D I knew you to be of the creative creatures of ths planet.

    When I was told and I'm still told...that I am not normal, I say. "Normal is a setting on the clothes dryer."

    The theater in New York City...I wanted to run away to the New York City theater when I was a child.

    I don't look back to dreams unfulfilled...for I only follow my heart and there is still so much to do.

    I was at a theme park and in a show we sat to see...They pick me to be part of the act. I do as they tell me to do and say. It came easy to me...it was a cowboy comedy and at the end...I danced and the mic goes to me...there I sang a song with the show's lead.

    My girl just never knew that I could or would. It's a stage...how could I ever say no. I came out with a smile and she looked differently at me.

    She said..."You're not normal." But she couldn't hide the pride that clung behide her blue blue eyes, that it was she that held me in her arms when the day was done.

    In every heart there are things to express...I'm glad to know your heart has expressed the love inside of you...How beautiful you are, ron. I'm glad you have chosen to share these moments of your past. And in this play we call life, chooses to unfold as if I had wriiten it...then I will be here when there are new experiences we two can make.

    A fabulous post ron...I love it.
    xoxoxox

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  11. You expressed that feeling so well Ron. I was always in the plays at school but haven't done any acting for years, you make me want to get back to it. x

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  12. Evening Akelamalu~

    Yes...I can tell that you must have enjoyed a bit of acting yourself. The "actors spirit" is within you!

    (you constantly amaze we with your ability to create those awesome Flash 55's)

    And the wonderful thing about acting...is the fact that at anytime of our lives we can do it. It's never too late. In fact, I truly believe that the older we get...the more life experience we accumilate...thus allowing us to be a "richer" actor!

    So who knows...maybe one day you and I will be back on stage!

    Thank you for sharing here today, dear friend!

    Your energy always adds much!

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  13. Good Evening Miss Jones~

    I love the way you express yourself through writing...it's always such a joy to read your words!

    When I first came to your blog, and read your ABOUT ME...I knew we'd have MUCH in common to share. The actor's spirit can always feel the actor's spirit of another!

    You TOTALLY cracked me up with your definition of NORMAL..."a setting on the clothes dryer"...that's BRILLIANT!

    And so TRUE!

    Ahhh...we of the acting world...are anything BUT NORMAL...and isn't it GRAND?!??!

    I've always felt that life is truly a play...that unfolds moment by moment...beat by beat...and it is written, as we live it!

    And I bet your a freaking FABULOUS actor...I can just tell!

    Thank you, Spiky...for sharing in our PLAYS!

    It's a blessing having you here!

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  14. Evening Dear Nitebyrd~

    I love your mention of the "mask!"

    I guess that's why in the theater, we have the masks of comedy and tragedy, because it IS like putting on a mask.

    And to be honest...being shy and insecure, it was always easier for me to express aspects of myself through acting...that I couldn't do in my life away from the theater. It felt safer to express it while wearing a mask.

    And then one day it occured to me, that is was time to take the freedom that I felt on stage...and bring it to my entire life.

    Yet, it's still not always easy for me.

    My time in the theater, has taught me so many valuable things about living my life...which I will always be grateful for!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this post, dear Nitebyrd...you've added so much!

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  15. Finally checking in with you again. Sorry for the absence.

    I know the feeling your describing. I've only done a coule of short dramas at the church I go to, but the increadible rush of transfroming yourself into another character is amazing.

    It really changed my appreciation for people like yourself who are/were in theater.

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  16. Howdy Mr. Jeff!

    Hey...I just NOW finished leaving you a comment on your blog!

    That's funny!

    Now worries, buddy...take care of business with your family and work first...our blogs will always be here!

    Hey...and thats GREAT that you did theater!!! I bet you were FABULOUS! Isn't is FUN?

    Maybe one day you'll write a play and I can be in it...then we'll take it to BROADWAY...and be RICH!

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment, my friend. Really appreciate it!

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  17. I got Goosebumps when I read this post because near the exact same thing happened to me as a child!!!

    It was in the music room, and my music teacher asked me to sing! I was petrified and a shy little girl with a lot of self doubt, and I would never dare do anything like sing publicly to possibly embarrass myself!

    But something really weird came over me and I sang my heart out! The look on the music teachers face was priceless! She was in disbelief that a voice like that had come from me!

    But anyway, that was the first and last time it ever happened! *GiGGLES*

    OH! And excuse me!!... I didn't know you were an Actor!!!

    How BLOODY COOL IS THAT!!!! xx

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  18. Morning Giggle~

    WOW...you too?

    And wasn't it the most startling thing??? I mean, it was as if a part of you, that you NEVER knew existed...made itself known!

    It was very emotional for me.

    Did you ever sing in high school musicals?

    I acting on and off for 25 years. Mainly, theater. A tiny bit of video/film...but the theater was ALWAYS my passion!

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Giggle!

    It made me SMILE!

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