Theater: Why It’s Fulfilling, Even When You Are Running On Empty


I got to take a nap yesterday. When I woke up, it was 10:45. A.M. I’m not sure what that says about you when a nap is needed by 9:00 in the morning.

Actually, I do.

It means you have been living in a whirlwind for the past few weeks and your body has finally said…I need a break!

The past several weeks have been a little hectic for me, but I have loved (almost) every minute of it. Lizzie Borden The Musical opened last weekend, with rave reviews I might add. Opening weekend is always an exciting time, albeit a bit exhausting. Especially when you are coming out of a week of 10 hour a day tech rehearsals. Those were preceded by weeks of regular rehearsals, of course.

On top of the opening of a show, my children also started school. Hello 5:30 a.m. alarm. I have not missed you. It didn’t take too long for my internal alarm clock to kick back into gear either. That little ticker is quite the over achiever, let me tell you. My actual alarm clock never even GETS to do it’s job!

for saleAnd if ALL THAT wasn’t enough. We put our house on the market. BAM!  Just like that. It was something we had been talking about doing for a while. Simplifying. Finding the areas in our life where we can just….reduce. So, we pulled the trigger. That was a shot I definitely felt. The sting didn’t last long though. It’s amazing how the threat of strangers coming into your home to look around and judge whether it’s “good enough” or not will push you out of your mourning period and into action mode.


Rehearsals. Memorizing. School. Packing lunches before I’m awake. More Rehearsals. Oh…clean out every closet, pantry, kids room, the backyard, pool, pool deck, de-clutter, get “curb appeal”, fix problem in shower, have tree cut down, REHEARSALS, don’t think about the fact that you are moving.

Then there was always the lovely…..SURPRISE….we want to show your house…in 10 minutes. $#$%!  I love those.

I’ve been running on empty. Thank God for theater.

When I am involved in a show or any type of theater, it fills my tank. It’s probably not for the reasons you think though. There certainly is an amount of pleasure that comes from performing in front of a group of people, and having them be pleased with your performance, and yes, applaud for you.

What I love about theater is this:


  • The People/Community – I have met some of the warmest, most genuine people through the shows I have been a part of. Theater folks tend to be real, authentic. They are, in my experience, open and accepting. When you are working on a show together you are forced to spend a lot of time together, and because of the nature of what we do, there is an intimacy there. We are tapping into feelings and emotions as we connect with our characters. To see that transparency in someone is beautiful.
  • The Characters – I love diving into a character. I love finding their voice, their nuances. I have found that with each character I play, there is always something in myself, some part of me, that I can add to my performance. It makes it easier to really connect with who I am portraying. It can also be healing. Working out your issues through a character on stage is cheaper than therapy.
  • scriptThe Challenge – Before we start rehearsing, the show is just a book full of words. The challenge is to take that book, and through sets, costumes, music, and spoken or sung words, take the audience on a journey. Tell them a story. One that hopefully makes them feel something or makes them think. If we can draw them in, make them forget where they are for a few hours, so engrossed in this story we are telling that they forget there is life outside the theater…we have accomplished something great.
  • The Growth – I find it nearly impossible not to grow from my experiences in theater. It constantly stretches me, and pushes me past my comfort levels. I am often in situations where my head is saying, “I can’t do that!” and next thing I know, I am doing it. If I had listened to those voices in my head, I never would have gotten on that first stage in elementary school. I still hear them….but I’ve been telling them to shut up ever since.

That nap yesterday? My body definitely needed it. My heart and soul however, can’t wait to get back to the theater for tomorrow night’s show.