Be not afraid of greatness
From the outset of any theatrical production, there’s no guarantee of success. Only the process that the production takes on can dictate success, and even then it’s not a done deal because a lot can happen in the last week of production. For Twelfth Night, the process included such a profound dedication to the overall objective from the ensemble that while success was not a given, greatness was all but assured. Looking back on two weekends of shows, and over two months spent in production, below are some observations.
Some are born great
I define talent as the spark that each person possesses that can ignite their desire to be great in anything. In the case of theatre, playing vivid characters in an interwoven creative tapestry takes a whole lot more than talent to be great. It takes an untiring work ethic, no matter the circumstances at play. It takes knowing deep down that our best performances always lay just ahead of us, and we have to fight for every one of those performances. And it takes a belief in oneself that defies every preconceived notion and nay-saying voice; whether that voice comes from within or without. Talent is a spark we’re all born with, but a spark alone won’t get the engine running.
Some achieve greatness
There are always standout performances with every show. Nothing is wrong with being a standout performer on any given night. But what is more important is seeing your partner delivering the performance of a lifetime and raising your own standards in order to keep that momentum going. We had several performances over this six-show run that rivaled any I had seen on a high school stage. Those performances would have been impossible to achieve without the constant support of the ensemble to keep each other whole, both onstage and off. To ensure this would be the case over the longest run in recent memory at Herndon High School, I decided to throw my energy backstage and help out with run crew. Getting this closer look behind the curtain gave me even more admiration for the work of the cast and crew’s hard work and prefessionalism when it mattered most.
Some have greatness thrust upon them
The last few weeks have been a very humbling experience for me. I believe that the ensemble of Twelfth Night (both casts, plus crew and volunteers) represents everything that Herndon High has to offer. That being said, I recognize that my department does not currently enjoy the level of prominence that others do within the school community. But even now, we are working on changing perceptions one show, and one audience member, at a time.
In the words of Shakespeare’s lovable truth-telling fool Feste from Twelfth Night, ”But that’s all one. Our play is done, and we’ll strive to please you every day.”