There is a poem by Robert Fulghum entitled, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. It’s a sweet poem about the basics of how we should behave: Don’t hit. Share. Play fair. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess, etc…. It’s a great poem and very, very true. But the next part of life and adulthood are lessons I learned while performing in shows. Those years dancing and singing were such important lessons about life and not just how we should behave, but rather how we all must work together to make something beautiful.
The number of people involved in putting together a piece of art or entertainment is huge! The creative team which includes very talented, artistic, and creative people who begin the thought process from conception to see it through to execution, but you also have producers, choreographers, musical directors, set designers, lighting designers, technical advisers and technicians. You have the performers of course, singers and dancers, but there are also the costumers, dressers, and costume designers. You have stage managers, assistant stage managers, entertainment directors, and the list keeps going. But here’s what I learned, and what was instilled in me, and what has not only shaped me but truly shown me that we ALL have to work together and lend our talents to create something great. This is where our uniqueness and differences are truly woven together to create best experience possible!
Without singers the song isn’t sung. Without the composer the music isn’t even written. Without the musicians and those working the recording studio the music is never played or recorded. Without instruments there is nothing to play. Without music there is nothing for the dancers to dance to, and without a sound technician the sound couldn’t be heard. Without the choreographers there are no steps to dance. Without teachers and artists generations and generations before us there is no gift and talent to share. Without a stage there is no where to dance. Without set builders there is no scenery, and without a set designer there is nothing to build. Without scenery the stage is boring. And what good are the dancers and singers and scenery adding life to the stage if the stage is dark…..and without lighting technicians to run the lights and lighting designers to design them then the stage would be. And once the lights are on and the music is playing and the dancers are dancing and the singers are singing and the actors are acting, do you see what they’re wearing? Without costume designers, and costume shops, and seamstresses the performers would be bare. Without costumers to repair and wash the costumes they would eventually be too dirty and broken, ripped, and torn. Without technicians to monitor the sets and keep the backstage area organized and safe, everyone could get injured. I really could go on and on and on. But what is important to remember, and what I instill in my students and my own children, is simply that we have to work together. We have to lend our talents, ideas, and skills to help one another. Standing alone is lonely. Standing alone is boring. But when we work together and appreciate everyone’s talents and contributions, then we can all create something spectacular, memorable, and meaningful.
This lesson isn’t just related to dancing and singing, or even theater in general. It’s about life. Without the chef and the cook and the manager and the waitress and the dishwashers and the maintenance staff then even a simple dinner at Applebee’s doesn’t work. We ALL have to work together. Appreciate one another. And don’t you dare think that anyone is LESS than you! That’s the root of so many issues, politically and just in life in general. Who is to say that the dishwasher doesn’t matter to me? Of course he does, and I appreciate him! I may never see him while I’m dining, but I know he exists and he too added to my experience and to my life. So many people go unnoticed and unappreciated while the girl who can dance or the guy who can sing stand center stage in a spotlight (run by a lighting technician) and take the applause for their performance. Well, I learned first hand that the performance was made up by more than just one person.
This holds true to every part of your life. Think about it. What you see is only the tip of the iceberg. So much more was involved and lies out of view. But it’s there. Appreciate it. Acknowledge it. Know that no matter how important you think you are, or how you “did it on your own”, you really couldn’t have done it without countless people who added to YOUR success!
So let’s work together people. Let’s love and appreciate each other. Let’s share our ideas and our passions. Let’s remember that just because our degrees, bank accounts, and job titles might be different, we are still all in this together. Everyone has something to offer. And if you put what each of us has to offer all together for the betterment of something bigger and beyond just US, then there is no stopping us. It takes everyone……
So, a special thanks to the person who started WordPress, wrote the first blog and inspired others, and to the person who installed this keyboard on my mac….today I am appreciative of you.