Behind the scenes: The truths about theatre
Photo courtesy of Amico Studios (“Cabaret” - 2019)
Theatre may require more from an individual than many people believe.
Aside from the necessary skills or abilities required for a specific role, the whole process of putting together a show as well as the commitment demanded by the art could be compared to having a full time job. Added on to things such as being a full-time student, having another job, and maintaining self health and a social life, those involved with theatre must apply themselves more than what an audience sees on a stage.
Clair Freeman, theatre professor at Cedar Crest and Northampton Community College as well as long-time director and theatre affiliate, revealed just one of the things he says are crucial in order to be involved in theatre.
“Patience,” Freeman divulged. “Over the years, it’s turned out to be the one thing that a lot of people don’t get. Theatre is a collective effort and everyone is an individual, so we all have our own specific idiosyncrasies. Not everyone responds to the same style of encouragement and so it’s important to be patient with them. It takes some time, but you’ll all eventually get the hang of working together.”
Despite this quality (among others), many theatre devotees find themselves trapped under the illusion that what they do is simple and does not require much background.
“The biggest misconception is that it’s not something you have to study and work at,” stated Freeman. “I’ve come across so many people that think you can just easily dive in and do it. Of course most of us got our start that way, but for those of us that ended up working in the field, we’ve studied, trained, and have an extensive background in our chosen profession. And there are those that don’t see it as a viable profession, but that’s another discussion entirely.”
With the amount of time and effort theatre requires, it leaves many involved with the artform baffled as to why their passion is not considered a “real” career. When asked how these stigmas could potentially be lessened or broken, Freeman concluded:
“Honestly, make theatre a part of the educational process early on, the same way art (usually visual and/or crafts) and music are part of early education curriculums.”