DRAMA

A Way of Meeting Life

FRANÇAIS PAGE 2 – LE THÉÂTRE – Une Façon de Rencontrer la Vie

6 min read

I feel like this story didn’t have a begining, as if it always has existed or began long before I was born.

Today’s article is dedicated to my passion, that which has always lived in me and which has never ceased to vibrate inside me, theatre.

Let me take you and embark with me in a fiction more than real.

At the end of the article, you’ll want to be part of the adventure.

BEFORE EVEN WALKING

I can’t remember this. When I hear my family speak about those stories, they make perfect sense and might even explain why this passion is a part of me. « Your grand father took you in his arms to bring you to worldly parties » « Before you even were one year old you’ve been hanging out behind the scenes of several theaters with your parents. »

I like those ideas so much that they take place as a memory in my head. A memory or maybe a dream that always has existed and that would repeat itself night after night.

DRAMA AS A THERAPY

In the schoolyard, I was often the one who was alone with his book or just skipping around without knowing who to talk to. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy, but I always had a certain anxiety whenever I had to speak in public. And the public could also be other comrades.

As much as I wanted to play with them, for some reasons I didn’t go or if I did, I was so reserved and anxious to speak in front of them and to ask to play that I spoke at such a pace that they understood me only once out of two.

So I played with them once out of two.

One might think that to play in a drama play it is rather necessary to love one’s body totally, to trust one another and to be rather extroverted. What if it’s the other way around? What if, in order to do theatre, one had to go through those moments which are perhaps embarrassing from the point of view of a child but also necessary for learning?

Continue to read and you will understand what I mean.

MEETING MY FIRST DRAMA TEACHERS

I took theatre classes very early on. Because I knew it was my passion, very early on. But it wasn’t until I decided to dive into it that I really evolved. I decided to take theatre as an option for my high school degree and at that time I was also enrolled in the conservatory of my region.

At a hectic pace, I was following the classes I had in high school, I would run in a theatre class the next day to take a singing class after that and then the day after a dance class followed by a theatre class, then several other theatre classes and even more dance classes. All this was accompanied by rehearsals for projects that we had between students.

I had about 10 hours of theater, 10 hours of dance and 2 hours of singing a week, in addition to my high school classes. All these hours of hard work gave me the opportunity to stage plays, to direct a musical, to play on regional and national stages.

With so many classes, I also remember all my teachers, each of them and the things they taught me. I remember a show where I had to choke on an apple to help me articulate, another show where I had to – like my other classmates – wear garter belt, or shows played in the streets.

It is not necessarily easy to accept criticism from one of you own teachers. Or just not easy for a teenager to agree to be put in garter belts. And yet, this is where you learn to digest things and follow instructions, when you realize they’re being followed by others. And one even realizes that this single instruction, the one that was harder to accept, is actually the one that teaches one the most and makes one grow.

Show on garter belts

Just like in life, the most difficult hardships are the ones that teach us the most on ourselves or even on life itself.

During rehearsals in drama, I found myself crawling to the ground. I was a clown – properly speaking – and found my clown character that I still remember today. His name was Musy, one of his friends was Linobu. Oh how much lines of text I learned, how many competitions or theater exams I passed.

Because this is also the role of a theatre teacher, to push his student to go meet his flaws to exceed his limits and to exceed himself. Or as one of my former theatre teachers would say:

“Never should suffering and humiliation rise to a stage… What makes an artist a unique being are his modesty, his limits, his faults… Trust is necessary…  » To put oneself in danger » on a stage as they say, it is for me to know these « flaws »… and to accept them little by little, to love them as qualities, unique qualities, and to let them « to see », « to give », « to share »… never to cross them… Like jumping over a high hedge, you hit it, you get tired, you give up, in pleasure, in the game! Not in force, not in the challenge… We try, we try again, why not, in the game, because we want to… If we want to…”

Karine Vuillermoz

Of course, you can’t do everything in life, and even though I was in the process of finding my vocation at the time, I was still a teenager, and unfortunately this is not compatible with the preparation of a diploma. That’s why I had to retake my high school diploma the following year so I would pass it.

Some of my drama teachers are no longer in this world, with other things ended with a bang. But anyway, I’m grateful for all the teaching they’ve given me.

One teacher will never be the same with another and that is where all the magic lies, that is where one makes one’s own identity. You take what you need and you change to perfect yourself and move forward.

And then we go again. We train, we dress up, we fall, we learn, we repeat and stress comes back before going on stage.

BEING ON STAGE

I came through the artists’ entrance. Armed with my 2 suitcases and my backpack, all my belongings were ready, all I needed was to prepare myself quietly.

Quietly is a big word; behind the scenes of such a large stage can accommodate many artists and the basement of the theatre swarmed like an ant hill. I would repeat my lines and, as the stress went up, I would run to the bathroom and get carried away by the excitement at the same time. In those moments, I cannot help myself, I do not hold in place, I laugh for nothing and I annoy my colleagues who need calm before the show.

Here we are.

Everything is ready.

This time we are behind the scenes of the stage, we can see the public already enthralled by what is happening on stage.

It’s almost our turn.

We must give eveything we got. We start shaking a little but don’t have to think about it. We must let go and have fun.

It’s up to us. The moment is so busy that it passes in a few moments. There are some mistakes but nothing that the public can notice. After all, it doesn’t know the lines. So we continue to give everything. That’s it, the moment I feared has arrived. I made it to the last rehearsal.

And it’s already over.

The stress is down, we drop the character and go back on stage to receive the applause of the audience. In such a big stage, the applause almost generates gusts of wind as the audience is so numerous. I still have shivers.

We leave the stage and we still hear people clapping. In the business, that means we have to go back on stage, they want to see us again. And how much more do I want to see the faces of these strangers smile and applaud us. We did a good job. We also remember to make a sign to the governance, they also did a good job, we turn around and disappear behind the scenes.

We applaud each other, we hug each other, we laugh, we cry with joy. That’s it, the stress is gone. Some will go home because they are too tired and others will go for a drink to celebrate! We’re playing tomorrow, but it’s okay, it’s important to keep the group together!


Bring out one’s feminity

Drama is kind of like a drug. Once you tasted the stage, you want to go back. Again and again.

Theatre teaches you to talk, to listen, to ally with others, to surpass yourself, to feel things ; it helps you to apprehend yourself, increases your general culture, makes you creative and helps manage stress. I certainly forgot some of them, but these are all the benefits theatre has brought me.

When you’re in the heat of the moment and you do little shows that for some will get big and just bring you joy, you don’t realize the exploits and it is by writing these lines that I realize how lucky I have been to play in so many shows. And that’s what theatre is all about: creating opportunities, going out to meet the right people and facing the wrong, learning and recovering from mistakes.

MEETING PASSIONATED PEOPLE

It’s when I see the professionals playing that I want to play even more. To see them move on stage and live from their passion is so encouraging that it almost gives wings.

The last great theatre lady I met left us a few months ago. I played in a play with her, that’s how I knew her. She always wanted to do theatre, but she couldn’t do it until she retired at 60. From that age she did not stop, lived like an Edith Piaf to wear herself out on stage and came to rehearse no matter the physical pain, the stage was her remedy. She left at the age of 87, I knew her at the end of her life and she taught me a lot.

Seeing her give herself in this way to her art shows that age does not matter and that we must continue to believe in our dreams. The role she played had been thought of for her, who could no longer walk very long, she had what can be called an electric scooter for the elderly that she drove during the show. So, she couldn’t use her body to play and help her pass emotions. She didn’t need it, she was so in her game that her voice was enough to pass anyhting she wanted. Great art.

This lady reminded me that we must fight to the end to do what we love, that we must go forward and never give up. Always believe in it. Life takes care of the rest.

This is the kind of lesson we learn when we do theatre. Life lessons that mark us and makes us new people. People able to transmit and give life to a little love, joy and tears, the time of a representation.

Thanks to it, you will be able to collaborate with people who share your passion, create infinitely and integrate everything you want into your art, circus, dance, cinema, puppets, cooking or whatever…

MEETING ONESELF

It is thanks to my passion that I was able to meet great names of theatre and cinema, that I was able to practice playing in front of a camera, sneaking into film sets, go back in time in a 10th century castle, perform outside or even direct actors.

It is thanks to all these experiences that I was able to find myself and apprehend myself to better grow and make my place in this life and this world. Today, I know how to play my own role with sincerity and serenity.

drama will help you see life differently and no longer take yourself too seriously.

As I was explaining in my article, Yoga as a Pah to Transformation, drama is also like an allegory of life. We work there as a « community », or as we say, in « company ». It’s not a coincidence that we call that a theater company and that is the whole principle ; it is a playground for real life.

If I go to the theatre and suddenly realize that my body is no longer leaning against the seat and that I have my mouth open in front of the stage, then I am sure that the play I am watching is a great artistic piece.

I don’t know if you agree with me, but the magic of life is in these moments and it can be appearing to all of us.

Image by Libracesp Hey! 

And you, what is this passion that carries you away, that transforms you and revives a flame within you, that only it can revive?

Have I made you want to go on stage?

Don’t hesitate to comment!

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« Play well, or play badly, but play truly. »

Constantin Stanislavski

Want to keep reading?

One of the ways you can manage stage fright might be with meditation, read my article Is Meditation Really Helpful?

We can also learn a new language thanks to it. I explain more on my article Tips for Learning a Language

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