In fall 2018, I had been working with a group of local kids to mount of pirate-themed mystery play of mine called Mutiny on the Sea Witch for November. It was a very rewarding experience to pass on the knowledge and passion I have for performing arts to these kids and to see their own energy and enthusiasm for the art and craft of theatre start to emerge. But there was one moment that sticks out to me as important to discuss.
The opening scene has three girls in elementary school talking about dreams and imagination. One of them is very much a passionate dreamer who every day dreams up a new fantasy for her imagination to run wild. It’s her way of still connecting to her late father, who told her rich, wonderful stories. This was my way of encouraging us to still dream and have fun with our imaginations. In a way I found a little sad, one of the kids said they didn’t want to do any of the scene’s movements that made her feel like a little kid. She had just turned eight. She was ready to feel like a grown up. She didn’t want to act out her character’s dreams. And I encouraged her to just go for it, to not be afraid of what people thought, and to embrace being a kid while she can. Because it’s over so soon.
Will my advice take? Probably not. She was very determined. But I’d like to encourage everyone who can hear me to never lose your imagination or all your whimsy. We all grow up. It’s inevitable. But don’t lose your ability to dream or imagine. It can open doors for you that you might think are shut forever. It can allow you to connect to others. It can inspire you to challenge yourself to take new paths. Try not to be in such a rush to shake off your childhood sense of wonder. You never know when you might need it. Those growing pains are tough.