Three to five years is what I have always considered to be the approximate amount of time to build a championship team. It takes the continuity of time to build the structure and cultivate the talent to make a championship theater ensemble. Now, in my third year of directing the St. Martha Drama Clubs in Okemos I am beginning to see the fruits of the earlier two years of hard work. Yesterday’s rehearsal was a case in point and it was exhilarating.
Working on Hairspray Jr. last week we learned the opening two numbers from the show with our incomparable musical director Jeff English. I asked the cast, as I generally do, to show their hands if they commit and promise to memorize both songs thoroughly. Even as there is almost always a unanimous show of hands the fact is it never gets accomplished as a team, regardless of what cast is working together – certain actors will memorize but some will drop the ball.
But lo and behold, yesterday this cast came in and raised the roof in their opening number! They were not only memorized but they were enthusiastic and acting up a storm too! It was thrilling. The high fives and shouts of joy afterwards, from me, Carmen, Jeff and the cast were heartfelt and aligned with the self-esteem that comes along with accomplishment. For the absolute best self-esteem is always hard fought and earned! Needless to say their second song was equally well done. It was electric, literally, as we all felt our body’s electricity go up to a higher frequency. And it was fun!
Because I always aim to provide honest feedback (I know kids detest false praise and feedback) this was a great opportunity to instruct the cast about what they just achieved and how it will impact our rehearsal process.
- They started the process with professional standards and achievement.
- They learned how capable they are as a team.
- They can see how much fun rehearsals are when they come prepared and ready for action.
- The can build on this success and continue to create a rewarding process that will maintain a high quality which will develop them into a championship team.
- Their brains have wired a fantastic lesson of learning not to be forgotten. If they continue this way their brains will hard-wire the neural connections and they will make a superb habit they can use anywhere, anytime.
This is another example of epigenetics. The choices the students made directly impacted their physiology (as all our choices do). The experience was full of endorphin filled bodies and brains and was felt kinetically; the cellular activity and gene expression of the experience, although out of sight and almost so small to be forgotten, reflected the peak experience of the performance. They were not firing synaptic connections of frustration and angst, which would fill the body with stressor chemicals, they were soaring to new heights, and their muscles and minds were united in a holistic chemical soup of contagious happiness. They co-created their reality. They used their God-given abilities to direct themselves and make what they wanted out of their lives. This is what the Ruhala Method is all about and what we strive for.
And now, like all championship level teams, the task is to stay on top – a daunting task for any team (although Alabama is making it look easy 🙂 . We will need to maintain a high standard and expectation, while remaining relaxed and at ease with the work. We will need to accept setbacks and handle them with champion spirit and get back up off our backsides and work harder.
I am confident this cast can do just this. They have shown their character, on stage and off, and it will lead to greater awareness (consciousness) and determination. I am excited to see where we can go and how far this team will act out their greatness.