May today there be peace within.
May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.
May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given you.
May you be content with yourself just the way you are.
Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
~ St. Therese
KidsAlive! Auditions for the spring production of Aladdin, Jr. are just around the corner! As I think of the children and families preparing for this day, these special words of wisdom come to mind. I have often found myself gathering strength from these words. They seem particularly valuable in an audition situation, when we are faced with so many unknowns and variables outside of our control.
There is no way around it, auditions can be scary. Here at KidsAlive! we have worked hard to incorporate a format for these occasions that takes some of the fear out of the experience, and on a large scale we have been successful. Yet, I know that on many levels, both before, during, and after auditions, there will always be a level of discomfort. Performers (and their parents) go into an audition situation with a certain level of expectation. They can't help it. Each of us has hopes and dreams for success. If they aren't fulfilled (i.e. - we don't get the part we dreamed of) then there is bound to be disappointment. Disappointment of this kind leads to questions of value and self-worth, and can ultimately lead to withdrawal and choosing another activity.
The heart of KidsAlive! is sharing the power of music theater with children of ALL abilities. We make it our job to find the strengths that young performers bring to the table, and then turn around and find a way to use those same strengths to bring a beautiful story to life. If a child is willing and eager to share what is inside, then we will work hard to find a way to use those gifts to build a team in which everyone has value and purpose. From a director's perspective, it is no longer a matter of "who is right for the part." Instead, it becomes a matter of "how can I help this performer excel in our team."
This is why we avoid casting specific roles at our initial casting day. It takes the pressure off us and our performers. We no longer have to stress over who is going to become Aladdin (and alternately, who isn't). Instead, we can look for the real meat of the issue. Who is here to learn and grow in their craft? Who can take direction and work together with others for the success of the whole? Who loves singing and dancing and performing so much that they sparkle and shine with the joy of life? Magically, when we can identify those individuals, then the rest of the details take care of themselves. Who does what simply unfolds when everyone is open to infinite possibilities.
Each and every one of the young performers who become a part of KidsAlive! have value and purpose. We feel strongly that it is our responsibility throughout a rehearsal process to help each individual find a place to shine: a place that is exactly where they are meant to be. It may or may not be the role that they had hoped for, but it will indeed be a set of responsibilities that will bring joy to many.
Respond. Embrace. Learn. Be Joyful.
Allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
May the words of St. Therese fill your hearts with peace and purpose.
and every day.