Be in Charge!


There are times that it may be difficult to “decide” who you are. While it is simple in concept, sometimes coming up with a sentence or mantra for the moment at hand may not be easy. Or it may even make you realize that you don’t know who you want to be in that situation; you just know that whoever you’re being is not working. In these cases opt to be in charge! One of my favorite Theatre Professors, Dr. Richard Nichols, would tell our sophomore acting class at Penn State University that we should choose to be in charge versus being in control.

Once a play or musical hits opening night and is into its run, the actors are running the ship. Sure directors and stage managers may remind them of this, that, and the other, but there’s no stopping the show once it’s started and it is very much up to the actors to ensure its success.

What often happens is that the cast and production team find what works and rehearse it just that way for weeks. Then, suddenly, new factors are added like lights, costumes, and an audience and the play/musical feels different and the actors therefore respond differently. Now your scene partner’s line of “Hello” ,that was once filled only with contempt, is now filled contempt, jealousy,anger, and rage causing the line to sound different. Or worse your fellow actor has forgotten the line all together and they have gone… dun, dun DUUUUNNNNN…OFF BOOK!

If you are “in charge” during the scene you can flow with the new information that you are receiving from your partner. You can react appropriately and balance the moment. You are flexible to move with the situation as it comes. You can even help guide your fellow actors back on track (if need be) or to be better at their craft if you remain in charge.

If, however, you insist on being “in control” in the scene you will respond the same way that you always have and you will be out of sync with the action. You will seem dim and untalented. Eventually, people will not want to work with you if create a spaces where things can only happen one way.

Starting to see where this philosophy could work in our everyday life? Where can we respond differently to the adversities that we’ve been given?  Many of us are having trouble making our dreams happen, partly, because, we are trying to be in control of them. We want our dreams to pull it together and unravel in the way that we imagined – the way we rehearsed! What do you do when your dream insists on improvising? Stay in charge! You are still focused on your goal, but now you are flexible to the ups, downs, twists, turns, and changes. 

Where else in your life could you respond differently?


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