Last week I got a phone call from The Theatre of All Possibilities (TOAP). I had worked with this touring children's theatre company off an on since 2010 and throughout my eight years, I've acted on every one of their eight touring productions. On the other line of this phone call was Daraj Maxfield, the artistic director. He let me know that he's come down with something bad and needed a swing to cover the last four shows of the school year. I hadn't worked on these shows in two years, I had no time to rehearse, and I had no idea how I could make it work with my schedule. Naturally I said yes.
The next day I found myself in San Jose in a self store facility, and I stood in front of the roll up door frozen, thinking about the last time I was here. And then I remembered I helped Daraj set up this storage room. I thought about the days that we spent going through every shirt, hat, and set piece. We talked about what we could repair, what needed to be taken to the dry cleaners, how to set up a room to foolproof the shows. You see, two years ago Daraj was grooming me to take over. Unfortunately due miscommunication and financial needs that never came true. However, as I stand in this room, I find myself thinking about what could have been.
The shows are unique. We spend an hour with a group of about 20-30 students as we add them to the show. The kids get their first experience at theatre while learning history and other lessons. Then after our hour is up we perform in front of the school with our new cast mates, and I have never felt so alive.
I don't know what the future will hold, but I know that I can't imagine it without this awesome company. TOAP taught me how to act more than any class or show. kids are so honest. And even when you are clowning, you have to be honest with them too. Within my first season I had gone from being a small, scared actor to making big, fun choices. I leaped forward exponentially quicker than I had in the ten years prior. And the kids learned about acting in a fast paced production. Shoot, I might have to consider coming back for full season next year!
You never know what is going to help you grow. Might as well take a chance when one comes along!
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