Monday, May 27, 2024

ICON-in-Class: Now appearing onstage: a whole new outlook

January 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Extra

by Maurice-Aimé Green, Liberty High School

Maurice-Aimé Green and theater class student aide, Beau Rigbye.

When I was very young, I aspired to be an actor. I made an attempt to achieve this goal. However, as I got older, I felt my talents were better suited to other endeavors. I held a low opinion of theater classes for many years, believing that acting was simply not an art that could be taught in a classroom.

So imagine my surprise when one of the classes on my schedule was, in fact, theater. I entered the classroom with my mouth poked out, wearing airs of aloofness and nonchalance, believing that nothing in the class could offer any sort of value to me. I hated performing on stage, strongly disliked peer review and despised what I saw as a waste of time caused by a scheduling mistake.

That was when I met Beau Rigbye, my theater class student aide. Like most people, Beau immediately confused me with someone else. But unlike others, he confused me with four other people before managing to get my name wrong yet again.

Although our interaction began with confusion, I discovered that Beau could be an effective teacher — even when he’s not trying. I thought I had refined my talents. As it turns out, I still had a lot to learn. Improvisation was a talent I figured I had learned through watching others try it, but I was merely plodding in the dirt when compared to Beau.

“You should go up,” he told me during an improvisation exercise. “You never know what might happen.” I scoffed and just shook my head, feeling this was an embarrassing waste of my time.

He later went up on stage and entranced the audience. I don’t tend to be full of myself, but he was doing something that I knew I could do — and I wanted to do it better. He isn’t even part of this class, I remember thinking. So, without putting much thought into it, I raised my hand and went up to the front, intending to one-up him.

My peers loved what I did, but I knew I had not yet beaten him. I figured a little competition never hurt anyone. From then on, I decided I would try to beat the chap at his own game.

Determined to get better, I came to realize that in order to get one up on Beau, I had to gain some hands-on experience. I learned not to expect to have your dreams drop from the sky and land in your lap.

Beau inspired me to work even harder to achieve my ambitions. He reignited a spark in me I thought had died long ago. In reality, my ambitions were dormant, waiting for the day they could arise. I admire Beau for facilitating that. I now carry a renewed purpose with everything I do in life, and I have Beau to thank for that new state of mind.

Perhaps one of these days, it will be me causing confusion and getting someone’s name wrong four times in a theater class.

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