Written by Allie Ingalls
The final shows from many of the courses at my acting school have wrapped up and as we all prepare for graduation there is a hum of anticipation and anxiety in the air. This could be an article criticizing which shows shone above the rest, but instead I understand now that seeing the work my peers have done taught has me an important lesson not only in theatre-making and acting, but in speaking from your authentic voice.
The pressure to succeed quickly or even succumb to any slogan that says “shoot for the stars” is huge, and making good theatre isn’t easy, let alone great theatre. However, no matter what career you’re in, after seeing which shows floated and which sunk, it clicked in my mind – it’s about using your truth, your experience, your struggles, your voice, to share through your chosen medium. Otherwise you sell yourself short when this truth is switched out for a shallow façade that doesn’t come from the integrity you could have embraced.
Your truth might not look like what you thought once other collaborators get their hands on it to shape it with you, but starting from that place is the only way anyone will look at what you’ve worked on and think “me too”- and feel a little less alone.
If you’re graduating too and feel paralyzed with what comes next, you’re not alone. The work you do in your life, what you leave behind, as long as it pours out from your truth, I’m convinced that’s the raw hope and wisdom and asking the right kind of questions this world needs to face. Harsh criticism to prove what someone knows from their degree is great for puffing up the ego, but looking at the heart of the work is the only way to see if it comes from a truthful place at all. Let’s take a moment to celebrate those who do speak from that scary, wonderful place and celebrate yourself for every time you’re empowered to do the same.