Student Blog: The Power of 'Yes'

How not being cast in a show became the biggest blessing of my freshman year.

Student Blog: The Power of 'Yes'
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Two months into college, I auditioned for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I was not cast in the show. After moving on from the frustration of rejection, I began to say “yes” to every opportunity that presented itself. 

“You’ve never held a lighting instrument before, but we need help hanging the grid for the upcoming show. Would you be willing to learn?” Sure!

At my university, students are encouraged to help the faculty with “work calls” for each production. For the first few months, I helped paint flats, something I felt comfortable doing. However, when I was approached to help at a lighting work call, I thought it could be fun to try. Immediately, I became fascinated with theatrical lighting and the process of preparing lights for each show. After my first lighting work call, I helped whenever I could.

“My assistant lighting designer won’t be at rehearsal. Could you fill in?” Yes!

Because of my basic lighting experience, I helped a student hang and focus his design. My role expanded when his assistant was unable to accompany him to a tech rehearsal. He needed someone to formulate a followspot cue sheet and track problems that arose. This experience taught me about the hectic process of technical rehearsals for a lighting designer. 

“You’ve never been an assistant stage manager, but would you like to try this role for the Fall Dance Concert?” Why not!

Stage management was a side of theatre I wanted to explore while in college, so I jumped at the opportunity to begin this journey. I absolutely loved working with the dancers, learning how to use the fly system, and being on headset during a show.

“We need another assistant stage manager for an upcoming workshop of a professional show. Do you want the role?” Absolutely!

After the dance concert, I wanted to continue stage management. I knew nothing about the show on which I would be working, but it seemed like an interesting way to meet professionals and continue learning. You can read more about this incredible experience in my blog post about the show on my page. 

“Would you like a position as a scene shop employee?” Yes!

This opportunity came at the perfect time, as I was looking for income leading up to my semester abroad. I began to work six hours each week in the scene shop. This position has allowed me to make new friends and learn practical skills about set construction and problem solving. I’ve climbed very tall ladders, used many power tools, and learned what goes into building theatrical sets.

“Would you like to be an electrics intern over the summer?” Sounds like fun!

Upon reflection, each random “yes” from this year seems to lead to an email I received in late April, offering me an interview for this internship at a theatre in New Hampshire. I am so excited to continue learning about professional theatre and lighting this summer (expect a few future blog posts about this)!

I had no idea how big of a blessing not being cast in Putnam would be. It allowed me to climb tall ladders (literally, and metaphorically) and indirectly led to an incredible summer internship. This year has taught me the power of saying “YES,” and I can’t wait to see what future doors will be opened by this magical word.



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