Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thrills, Chills, and Hills – Starting Something New

Patrick G. McGee 

There is always the thrill of starting something new. Sometimes, it is starting a new hobby, trying a new recipe for a dinner party or even taking a new route home from work.  Starting something new always seems to bring a breath of fresh air to my daily routines and starting my first semester in this program is no exception.   As a teaching artist, I love the first day of classes or rehearsal.  There is always a great sense of excitement from both the young artists and myself.  
The past few weeks have been nothing but exciting and definitely thrilling.  I am slowly discovering the balance of finding my voice as an artist as well as developing my own teaching style.  The rainstorm of new terms like scaffolding, TYA, process vs. product, and devising theater have sparked my interests as a student in so many ways. 
I am thrilled to be in class with so many teachers and teaching artists with such varied backgrounds.  I am both humbled and inspired by my classmates’ discussions and feel myself growing both as an artist and student in these past few weeks. Both the discussions about the combination of  innovative technology and cutting edge theater for young audiences  and being exposed to productions like The Old Man and The Old Moon at The New Victory have a struck a new chord in my artistry.  Also, I was fortunate enough to take Devising Theatre over the summer and that class really allowed me to find the importance of my own artistry as a teaching artist but more importantly understand that we are all creating something together.  I was really struck by our discussions about community that were sparked by the devised theater pieces.  Ultimately, I think as both teachers and artists it is this idea of building a community or ensemble that is extremely important both inside and out of the classroom.  I am excited to find my place in this graduate program ensemble over the next few years. 

With any new experience, there are also so many anxieties.  For me if I am not a little bit nervous starting something, the passion must be missing.  Well needless to say those chills were there the first day of class.  With so many new people and new experiences, how would I fit in?  Also it has been some years since I have been in the world of academia, and I was a little worried that I would not be able to keep up.  Needless to say, the work load is a little intense, and the drama in education paper still makes my stomach churn but all these things combined remind me of my passion to be a better teaching artist. 
 Passion is what drives and fuels my every day existence.  It is why I get up every day with such vigor, and with that passion comes many, many hills to conquer.  I think our lives are series of hills that we are constantly trying to climb.  We have moments of glory when we reach the top and look down at what we accomplished. Maybe it is that lesson you thought could not be pulled off or that production of The Little Mermaid that you have to direct with 18 other directors.  Regardless of the hill you are currently climbing, the reward is in the journey.   I am excited to start climbing this new hill and start my journey towards my Master’s Degree.  Bring on all those thrills, chills, and hills!

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