Last night, I watched a few of the senior drama students agonize over their own productions in our annual showcase called "Director's Cut." The kids write, cast and direct the one act plays and, of course, there were tears, misunderstandings, frustrations, angry words and confusion, but in the end it all worked out and the plays went well. I won't say the productions were perfect--adorably flawed would be a better description, but overall they did a good job.
The senior directors learned a lot from the experience and some of it had to do with the people in their lives. They learned who was easy to work with, who respected others and that sometimes working with your friends isn't all it's cracked up to be. They learned that if something appears easy, there is usually a tremendous amount of preparation behind the scenes so it will look that way.
Producing the shows ended up being a good life lesson for the three directors because they learned that life is all about layers. What people see, whether it be a show, a paper for a class, a display in a mall, a movie, a book, or a night out with friends, each "thing" has some complexity and if it goes well it's because something went into making it so before hand.
Last night, as they walked out of the theater feeling good about how the shows went, I hope they remember how hard it was and that the good feelings came from the hard work and the frustration of getting those layers in place. I hope they realize that they put themselves on the line, that they risked failure and succeeded.
Taking chances, leaving our comfort zone and really embracing risk is when growth takes place. I'm a firm believer that I will be "growing-up" forever. There will always be new challenges, new things to learn and new ways to put myself out there. The young directors just began their adult journey, learning more about the people in their lives and about themselves.
It's a beginning and as they look down the road they should see that their lives will be made up of layers, just like the plays they directed--there will be a cast of characters, things to juggle and problems to solve.
And there will always be something new to learn.