BWW Blog: Hunger and Opportunity
When we think about hunger, we usually hear it preceded by the word world, or mass, and in the context of food. When people say they're hungry it's usually because they're craving food and wanting to eat. Out of this context, many artists and even those who aren't, tend to describe people who are scrappy and fighting for opportunity as hungry, and I never actually thought about the implications of this statement. That is until this week.
I just finished the third week of my Junior year of college, and I am slowly coming to the realization that I am what many people would call hungry. I don't mean in terms of food, but rather drive, although I do have yet to eat breakfast. What I mean is that I am fighting tooth and nail everywhere for opportunity. While this sounds like a bad thing, I think it's the exact opposite. It's been some time since I have been this starving for the passions I hold in theatre.
I find that when we put ourselves out of our comfort zones, we find that, hunger returns. When we have time to acclimate to our environment, and make ourselves at home, everything becomes formulaic. We stop asking questions. We know how things go, and we know how things have been. Maybe it's just me, but when I know exactly how things are going to play out, I don't feel it necessary to try my best. I feel it necessary to try the exact right amount.
This is not a good thing! If you start to feel like this, you just need to shake things up. Do something you've never done before. I've had a few of these lapses in work ethic, and the best solution is to get as far away from your comfort zone as you can. When I was in my senior year of high school, I noticed I was getting really comfortable, so I asked if I could stage manage one of our fall shows. I think my hair started to turn gray, but it really kept things fresh.
Just recently I transferred schools and changing environments 100% kept things really fresh. I'm working harder and trying my best more than I ever have before, and I would like to keep it that way. When young theatre artists start to research college, the piece of advice they will hear from everybody is that they need to want to do theatre more than anything else. If there is any other passion or career that they have they should pursue that. The nature of the business is wrapped up in "Survival of the Fittest".
Another realization is that this hunger is rewarded, but it's hard to hold onto it. A really sad truth that I had to face this week is that college in general is not fundamentally designed for everyone. I have heard professors, other students, and anyone under the sun telling me and others like me to quit my job so I can focus more on my craft and training, and it's incredibly disheartening. Students who don't have the money and didn't receive enough scholarship funds to cover everything are systemically being pushed to the wayside.
This is where hunger comes into play. I can't afford to quit my job, but I'm also not letting it take away from my training. Some people who don't have to fight so hard, may not have the hunger, which means they may also get less out of their education. My training is of utmost importance to me, but realistically I need money, and food, and shelter as well. These needs don't subtract from my education. They're forming me to be more resilient and to fight for what I want both artistically and non.
I guess the point I'm trying to make here is those who get opportunity are those who work and fight for it. They crave it, and hunger for it. For me, and others craving it and hungering for it just so happens to correlate with our environment and just how far out of our comfort zones we are. The further you are, the harder you'll fight. Artists make their best work in the face of adversity. Now stop reading and go practice.