As if high school wasn’t already daunting enough with advanced classes and homework and community service, you also have to maintain some semblance of a social life. If you’re going to enter high school, you’re probably fearing the cafeteria, and not just because of the lunch food. Figuring out where to sit and who to hang out with is not easy.
Many of us upperclassmen remember the feeling, and even so, there is still a sort of cycle that happens during high school: Freshmen year you make friends; sophomore year things happen and you lose those friends so you make some more friends; junior year you figure out who your real friends actually are; senior year you just want to get out of high school, but then by the end of senior year you get all nostalgic and want everything to be peachy between everyone.
So, to save you some grief, I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons of hanging out with the spontaneous, artsy, theatre kids at your school. If you’re a shy kid maybe joining the thespian club will help you get out of your comfort zone. Or maybe you just want some fun people to hang out with who won’t be particularly judgemental theatre is for you.
Theatre is a way to break out of your comfort zone.
Amanda Morris, a former student from Hillcrest High School, and one of my closest thespian friends, told me why she got involved in theatre. “I decided to do theatre because of how I felt freshman year when I did my first musical. I never performed on a stage that big before, I used to be shy; I would cry whenever I had to sing in front of anyone. I loved the feeling of being on stage and every bit of stage fright I ever had went away after that.”
Kristina Feliciano, a student at Talent Unlimited High School adds that, “…[performing] was a chance for me to step outside of my comfort zone, and finally be someone I wasn’t for a change, which was very therapeutic for me. I continued to do it because I started to get people telling me that they were inspired by me to do what they love, and that to me is like a Tony award haha, that’s cheesy but yeah.” Joining the school play or your school’s thespian club can be a great experience for people who are shy or just looking to have some fun! And, hey you never know! You might be really good at performing, and it could develop into something more than just a casual hobby.
Doing theatre is a great artistic outlet, and it’s tons of fun.
Miranda Cuellar, from Benjamin Cardozo High School, says that, “Theatre is fun, because you can become a totally different person for hours, create a character and make it your own! If you’re feeling sad, mad, happy, or whatever, [you can] sing it out, or even better dance it out! It’s amazing how you can express yourself in so many ways. If you go to like Broadway Dance Center, everyone there is determined, willing to work hard, and learn plus have fun! It’s a GREAT environment to be in!” So, don’t be afraid! If you’re having a rough day, theatre is the way to go and express your feelings of frustration you can put all of that emotion into a monologue, or singing, or dancing, etc. It’s a great creative and emotional outlet.
Theatre friends are spontaneous, outgoing, interesting, and a little bit crazy, but the fun kind of crazy!
Amanda, Miranda, and Kristina all agree: Theatre kids just know how to have a great time! Amanda says, “We make the best group of friends because we’re outgoing and we’re fun to be around! We perform for a living, so we know how to make anything fun and we can turn any situation in something great! We are full of positive energy and it shows so people love to be around us!” And besides that, theatre kids are compassionate and try their best not to be judgemental.
Kristina adds that, “Theatre kids are the best friends because they’re understanding, of others. They’re not judgmental. And in order to be a performer, you must have some serious experiences to make you a stronger performer. And theatre kids are just very understanding, and warm because they know what its like to go through hard times.”
Rehearsals happen to be time-consuming, and early rehearsals aren’t as awesome as midday rehearsals.
I’m not going to lie, waking up before 8 a.m on Saturdays to get to school, and rehearsal lines and songs, isn’t as fun as they make it look in High School Musical, but it must be done in order for a production to be as awesome as it can be. Besides those early rehearsals, theatre is very time consuming you’re looking at memorizing pages of monologues and lines, on top of learning choreography and songs.
You might not be able to fit other extracurricular activities in because of the level of commitment theatre demands. During my junior year, I had to drop out of my Model United Nations class in order to be in our school’s production of In the Heights. As much as I loved doing Model UN, I was willing to sacrifice it in order to be a lead in a great production. In the end, it’s up to you and your level of interest in acting, singing, and dancing. The time commitment can be a deal breaker, but if you can look past it, and make some changes to your schedule, theatre is extremely fulfilling.
Timid folks might have a hard time loosening up in front of people who perform all of the time.
If you’re kind of introverted, it may be hard to deal with friends who don’t have much of an off button. Performers like to be loud and go all out some people don’t roll that way. Theatre kids are a different kind of breed, they like to sing on subways and put on impromptu shows at the mall. Beware! If you’re not into public embarrassment, it can be hard to adjust to people who love attention.
And by ‘love attention’, I mean theatre kids seriously LOVE attention. They crave it, they need it, and it can be a little much sometimes…
Having friends who want the spotlight on them all of the time can be a little exhausting. In my own experience, some theatre kids are a bit selfish and egotistical. But, that’s the key word some! I know I’m not the kind of person to crave the limelight, and I definitely hate drama, but theatre friends bear gifts of spotlights and catfights, tread lightly.
All in all, I must say, once you get in with the thespians at your school, boring won’t be in your vocabulary anymore. They’re fun, and a little bit over the top, but they’re loyal friends. If you can look past the cons, and invest some time in the art of performing, I can promise that you’ll have an exciting four years of high school.