The most precious lessons in life have to be learned the hard way. And let me tell you, I have had a HARD time working on Two Gentlemen of Verona: The Musical. I love musicals. I love being in the ensemble of musicals. I love dancing and singing (even though I would never call myself a dancer or a singer in comparison to people in the Music and Dance Schools here at UNCSA). I fell in love with theatre doing musicals in summer stock regional theatre. But throughout this process, I had to constantly remind myself that I am not replaceable....even when I felt like I was.
This is because I've been fortunate enough to be in the ensemble of many 'dance-y' musicals that really challenged my abilities. I was kind of let down in this process after the first day, when we had a couple hip hop dancers come in from NYC and bust our butts. We all thought we were gonna get in tip top shape and dance our little feet to death. That didn't end up being the case, and that's okay. I just reached a point where I felt that I wasn't doing anything special in the show that any average person on the street couldn't handle.
It was really hard to stay positive, and a lot of the time I failed. I like to think I failed more outside of the rehearsal room than I did in it, but really that doesn't make it any better. Essentially, I questioned whether I was growing as an artist at all in this process. And for awhile, I really didn't think I was.
Then I realized that there's more than one way to grow as an artist. All of the experiences I've had here at school have been amazing in that I've grown in my use and passion for the craft. That wasn't the strength of the experience of this show. It's strength was this: I began to learn how to make a paycheck. There will be many jobs that I will take, thinking they're going to be awesome! There will be many jobs I will take because I'd rather be doing anything on stage besides waiting tables or working in retail. I made some progress at learning the benefits of finding what I love about a show.
Even more than that, it made it more clear to me than ever that I do theatre to feed my soul. Not to tell stories, or change other people's lives, although that is perhaps more noble. I learned that while I would never in a million years turn down the opportunity to make a living as an actor, if the cards don't play out like that....well, I would rather be doing a no-pay production of As You Like It in a little black box at night after my day job with my friends and have my soul fed than accept jobs just to reach the goal of 'making my living as an actor'. Because that 'goal' doesn't feed the reason that I love this and commit myself to it to begin with.
--Jasmine Anne Osborne