A first year MFA playwright asks me to help him cast a casual reading. It’s really no big deal, but it’s still a reading and will still take place at the studios for an off-Broadway theatre. There are four roles. I come up with four students who will fit the roles. Three are upperclassmen (one a sophomore, two juniors) and a freshman.
Today, the freshman comes into the office.
“I just wanted to touch base,” he tells me, “Is there anything I need to know? Will there be more rehearsals than just that day?”
“You know,” I respond, “I really don’t know, but I imagine it’s going to be very casual, and if there were going to be outside rehearsals, I’d have been told about them.”
His eyes shift a bit, and he stumbles over his words, “Do you mind… is it okay if I ask… am I allowed to know… who else is doing the reading with me?”
I smile and say, “Sure! I’m waiting on one confirmation, but so far I’ve got you, [this sophomore], and [this junior], when he checks his exam schedule.”
And then this freshman’s eyes glow. To him, these upperclassmen, particularly the junior, who has been on the mainstage twice, are the BIG TIME. I can tell that inside, that beautiful thing is happening– adrenaline and happiness are blooming inside his chest. I know, because I remember that feeling. I never took for granted the opportunities given me, and I always looked up to the upperclassmen, for better and for worse.
Watching this 18 year old hear those names– the names of a 19 year old and a 20 year old– and put together the pieces that he’s been picked for something special… that made my day.
Those are the best kinds of gifts, and the best kinds of kids are the ones who let those gifts excite them.
Now I’m glowing. 🙂