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Theatrical “Failures” and Criticism

March 16, 2013

So recently I had happen for the first time in the past two years that every theatre artist hates: when your piece doesn’t work and it’s really bad.

For on of my classes, I had to create/direct a scene without words. After having to do this twice in undergrad and both times they weren’t that great (not the actors, but just my ideas), I already knew that this probably wasn’t going to do well since for some reason creating a scene without word is just the hardest thing for me to do.

When the performance actually came around, it was pretty disastrous. One of the actors messed up the blocking, things that worked in rehearsal just wasn’t working on stage, props and set pieces weren’t working for the scene, and it was by far: the worst thing I’ve ever directed.

Feedback was pretty tough for it as well. As much as I agreed with everything everyone said, part of me felt like I was glass breaking from hearing them say it. For the first time in my theatre career: I felt like a total and complete failure.

However with every dark cloud there’s a silver lining. We all have our bad moments, and if that was the first time in 2 years that I had mine, I can’t complain. We learn a lot more from our mistakes than our successes. I learned what didn’t work and why, and if I were to do it again how it would’ve been better which is one of the most important things to build on career wise. Plus, an educational environment IS the place to fail and learn as oppose to doing it in the real world on an actual show.

In all this I also learned something about myself that I need to work on: taking criticism. I’ve never really been criticised before, and from hearing the criticism that I felt that badly is something that can’t be done working in this business (yes, as much as some people hate to admit it: theatre is a business). I’ve learned that I need to find a way to take the criticism without taking it so personally. One bad moment doesn’t reflect on how bad I am as a person or an artist, it just means exactly that: that I had one bad moment.

It’ll pass and I can move forward from it. Thankfully I probably will never have to create my own scene without words again, and if I somehow do, I’ll disregard everything from the past to make it right. I have some pretty awesome shows coming up and I really look forward to creating some amazing things in the future.

sarah sig

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