Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

“Do the best that you can and that is all anyone can ask of you,” apparently not– as is evidenced by the theater group’s “Must Do” attitude. Often times, students equate classes to torture- yet, my issue is not with the courses or the department- but with the attitude of some theater majors.

In an open forum, theater majors and minors alike discussed how to make required theater participation more exciting, and soon enough we were on a discussion about “dedication.” The people I reference seem to operate under the supposition that priority one must be theater. Honestly, I felt myself quite out of place in a auditorium full of predominantly-the unemployed.

While I understand that some majors can be demanding, as an education major myself, it still stunned me to see students talking on cell phones- opening up their laptops- all the while proclaiming that they do not work. In terms of acting as an adult- while participating in your craft is wonderful- shouldn’t you be financially responsible as well?

Clearly this does not apply to those who do take financial responsibility, but to those who do not: While you’re here “being dedicated” who’s paying your bills? And if you do have loans- shouldn’t you be equally as dedicated in preparing to pay them off after college? I’m sorry but some of you seem to live in this sheltered bubble like you’re perpetual high school vultures preparing for the newest wave of gossip. I wonder what exactly are you dedicated to? The environment and relationships you think will come with every theater experience, or the work?

Yet all the while myself and others are told our priorities are “wrong” and we are “less dedicated” simply because we are more responsible and balance school, work and studying. Since when have attributes like this been considered “less dedicated?” I’ll tell you when- when you enter the theater department. Evidently it’s not that people like me aren’t dedicated, it is that apparently we’re dedicated to the “wrong” thing.

One student said, “If you do not love, love, love theater with every fiber of your being then you don’t belong here.” Newsflash: A student does not need to be obsessed in order to major or minor in a subject. It’s called interest- not psychosis. Furthermore, this “real world” everyone references, isn’t circulating around a hub of theater. So, to treat theater as the one and only priority shows just how much you truly have to learn and further paves your road to unemployment- a road some of you seem very comfortable on. It seems that, through several statements, some in the theater department would force a student to choose between their livelihood and theater simply because that’s true “dedication.”

The idea that if you are a major in any subject, that you instantly abandon all other obligations, is unintelligent at best. Yet, when faced with a choice like this: be dedicated to paying your bills or…theater, myself and many others would willingly ditch the theater department. So in all honesty- your ‘suggestions’ to turn theater participation into a required-anytime-you-are-breathing-and-aren’t-at-class will leave you with a smaller department than you presently have. You will only drive and keep people away. That is what I like to call a logical argument. To say that the theater industry is competitive- and then to say do not save money while you can- is a an illogical argument. If this field is as difficult as you convey then shouldn’t you urge people to save money while they can- so later they can support themselves when hopping from audition to audition? No, that would be making things too easy. I hate (not really) to break it to you, but just because you decided to forgo a source of income (j.o.b.)and use all of your time to participate in the beloved theater department- in the end that only guarantees you one thing. That, when it comes down to the skin and bones of it, and you can’t find work for whatever reason, your “love love love” of theater won’t put food on the table. And when you can’t get a decent job because you have no resume, us “less dedicated” persons, having actually worked to make a living, will have no problem sustaining ourselves. But then again, if someone else is paying your bills right now, I’m sure you can calculate just how much longer it would take you to wear out your welcome. I’d rather not have to constantly rely on someone else for money- but that’s just me.

You know- this is merely opinion… but if you think this is about you, it probably is. And if you plan to ask me if it is about you- know in advance that my answer will be “yes”, irregardless of if it’s true.

But hey, maybe I’m just being “dramatic”. Talk about dedicated.

Laura Valentin is a fourth-year student at West Chester University. She can be reached at LV619226@wcupa.edu

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