“We’ve decided to join the Props Crew,” she said.
I was a high school sophomore. If I also joined the Props Crew, I wouldn’t have to walk home from school by myself, would get to spend time with my friends AND there would likely be cute boys. I was sold.
That one decision changed my life.
Props Crew (which we spelled Crue, after the group Motley Crue) was part of the Oak Park-River Forest High School Theatre Department and, according to the school’s website, it’s still going strong today. I met all kinds of new people and got to use cool things like glow tape and glue guns.
The first production I worked on was the musical “Guys and Dolls.” As a new member of the crew I was assigned a couple of smaller tasks, one of which was to move a trash can during a scene change.
During one tech week rehearsal, I somehow managed to not get that trash can moved. Erika, one of the dancers, very kindly took me aside and explained that if I didn’t move that trash can, it would be in the way of her entrance, which was what started the scene. The show literally could not go on if I did not do my job (I have since learned otherwise, but that’s another story).
That was a huge lightbulb moment.
By working backstage I could, for the first time in my life, contribute to something that lived and breathed, affected people and was a different experience each performance.
I was welcomed and accepted. I had a purpose.
We all need to be valued and loved for who we are. We were made to be in relationships—all kinds of relationships. We NEED others who support and encourage us. People are not optional, but integral.
We also need purpose and not just to the betterment of ourselves, but for others. We need to participate in a story larger than our own. We need to be the piece that finishes the puzzle, the thread in the tapestry that allows the rest of the threads to be woven in around it, after it, because of it.
Living in small, egocentric stories, leads to loneliness.
Purpose saves. Belonging saves. Being loved and loving other people save.
YOUR purpose always involves other people.
Constantin Stanislavsky said that there are no small parts in theatre.
There are also no small parts in life.
Move the trash can.
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