I only recently changed my major to theatre and previously I was a fine art major. I love creating art, but I found it to be a deeply personal, self-expressive release that I didn’t want to grow to hate as an occupation. Theatre has always been a passion of mine, but I also didn’t have much experience in high school so I thought I would be laughed at for choosing to pursue it. When I was an art major, I found a connection to God through creating. Though, I found myself more and more looking to art that was dramatic, dealt with the anatomy of the human body, focused on emotion and perceptions. I love people. I found my art reflecting 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
I feel like God has led me to connect with people. When I switched my major, somewhat on a whim and somewhat exploring my options because I was discontent with my current major, I found my connection with people. Humans were created in the likeness to God. Through studying theatre, specifically the human figure, intellect, and emotion, my awe of the Creator was heightened. Theatre is Christ-like because of similarities with Jesus, how it can help with personal growth, and how it teaches reconciliation.
I think of how Jesus bonded with people while on earth. He wasn’t pretentious. He was genuine and selfless. He thought about others and not Himself. I’m reminded of Jesus crying out to God when he’s being crucified to forgive his tormentors because they don’t know what they’re doing. Christ incarnated Himself as a human being just as an actor takes on a character in a play. In theatre, we have to bond with and trust each other. As actors, we need to be vulnerable and as a team, work together without judgment. Stories open up opportunities for self reflection and awareness just like Jesus did with His parables.
Theatre has helped me grow as a person and I want to share that reflection and euphoria with other people. When I develop a character, I can better understand how someone can do a selfish act without foreseeing the damage it could do to others. Theatre has helped my utilize empathy and helped me to forgive, trust, understand, connect, invest, and encourage other people. I believe theatre is redemptive and develops acceptance of differences in people. I can admit my faults and improve spiritually in a more open manner than I ever had before.
I have a passion to reach people who go voiceless. I want to hear what they have to say. I’ve always said you have to watch out for the quiet ones because you don’t know what they’re thinking. I can relate to brokenness. I like to invest in people who consider themselves outcasts, worthless and unwanted. Also this year, God has highlighted people for me to reach out to who are different socially and usually thought of as eccentric or weird. I’ve found a worshipful practice of expressing vulnerability and brokenness to others through testimony. Those stories unite Christians in authenticity. We all wear a mask in every day life that hides our sorrows. It’s selfish to bottle that up. Pain and joy are two things that are a part of the human experience. How can we never talk about the pain in our lives? It cuts out half of what we can relate to each other about. Through these confessions, God redeems us. When acting, I can forgive the wrongs my character has done because I realize that in some form, I’ve committed the same thing.
I think that the word “Christian” should be a noun and not an adjective. So, I am a Christian and I do theatre. I don’t want to be the one that needs to jump up and down squealing, “I’m a Christian! I’m a Christian!” I hope that my actions spark curiosity about my faith. Tying back to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, I want to love and look at people in the same way as Christ did. I know I can’t love perfectly; only God can, but I hope I impact others through God’s love.