What is one of the hardest things to do in life? Smile – even when you’re not feeling it. This is one of those life skills that some people never quite master, myself included. However, whenever I’m on stage smiling suddenly becomes really easy. Why? Perhaps it is because I love acting and the chance to be another person for a little while. Perhaps it is just the magic of the stage – that elusive special thing that all theater recognize as truth, but can’t quite explain to an outsider.
But that’s me. I’ve found over the years that the magic that pushes me to smile has worn off on NDW kids. Whenever they get onstage (whether at Cole or at one of the middle school) and sing and dance in a group number it looks like a funeral. It’s weird. It seems like the most natural thing in the world to smile in this situation, yet it doesn’t happen. At this stage in rehearsals I know that part of the problem stems from concentration. Kids are learning the dance, trying to remember the choreography, and on top of that, trying to do the choreography while remembering the words and the tune, but still… no smile?
I know that our kids have fun at rehearsals and enjoy being at NDW, so where’s the smile? It’s out in the hallway, in the costume room, backstage, but nowhere to be found onstage. I hope that whatever prevents our kids from forcing a smile doesn’t prevent them from pretending to be happy in life. While there will always be people in your corner, you can’t always show your true feelings to everyone in every situation, and as sad as that can be, a smile can not only help you get through something quickly without people knowing about your inner turmoil, but can also actually make you happier. Truly. If you’re in a bad mood try smiling. You might not be cured, but you’ll feel slightly better at least.
Maybe we can all work together this show to encourage kids to smile until their faces hurt. What do you think? If anyone knows the answer, let me in on your secret. In the meantime, think happy thoughts and watch these videos: