Here’s a tip – if you find yourself losing hope for the future of the arts in America, volunteer to judge a youth theatre competition.
I had the great privilege to spend a day in Santa Clarita at Golden Valley High School, judging over twenty short scenes presented by high school students. As I wrote my responses to their scenes, my hand quickly cramped up with a frenzy of compliments and suggestions for improvement. These young talents were so inspiring, I could have written volumes.
Entire worlds sprang to life with just a few basic pieces of scenery and some chairs. A colorful parade of characters with complete physical lives made the audience cry with tears of laughter and sadness. Shakespeare was staged in a modern military battle, a jazz lounge act and in an insane asylum.
The task of judging was extremely difficult, but what was easy to see was that every single performer on the stage that day was deeply passionate about what they were doing, and they had a terrific time watching everyone else perform their work. And there must have been over 100 performers from 6 schools there.
It occurred to me that no matter what ends up happening with the legislature and funding for the arts today, or what new 3-D technologies are introduced to televisions, or how well Spider Man: Turn off the Dark does at the box office, our theatre’s future is in good hands. Let’s ensure that everyone has a chance to learn and grow.