The importance of mentoring

When we started rehearsals for a show I’m directing this fall, I saw the line-up of kids in the show and got a flash from the past. “Oh, my gosh. I’m Helen Todd.”

Helen cast me as Napoleon in The Nerve of Napoleon at the Little Theater of Alexandria when I was about 10 years old. You remember big moments like that in your life. And you remember the person responsible for giving you a break. A person who saw something in you that other people hadn’t seen. Who gave you encouragement. Who showed you how to do something. Who pushed you past your limits.

You had a mentor.

And now you can be a mentor.

The kids in A Christmas Story are going to remember being in this show for the rest of their lives – even if they don’t do any other theater. But what can I teach them? They’re trusting me to help them put on a great performance. Hopefully, they’ll also remember theater techniques – like how to get their voices out there! And how to stage fight. And how to find the love in their character. And how to delicately tickle the humor out of a line.

I’m also trying to teach them how to be kind to each other. How to take deep breaths and get into the zone. And how to stay focused.

I feel a calm pressure in all of this because I’ve learned a ton from so many wonderful directors since I worked with Helen Todd, and I love having the opportunity to share all of that with this group of kiddos.

You’ve had mentors.

What did they teach you?

What have you learned that you can share with others?

Life’s a big circle, you know. If people have helped you, it’s nice to pass that along.

Sending you waves of peace and love from the rocky coast of Maine. Photo by Tracy Carroll who is always kind and helpful.

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