It’s become a tradition at Brelby to spend the month of November reflecting on our artform and how it impacts us through our annual Blogathon. This year, in honor of our 10th Season, our Blogathon participants will be sharing lists of 10 things that have impacted them, whether they be lessons or memories…or are looking ahead towards future goals.
Today’s blogger, Sarah Bary, has been seen on the Brelby stage in our Miscast Concerts, Spin, and most recently, Powerhouse: the Tesla Musical.
Below, Sarah shares 10 lessons that she’s learned from being an artist.
Hi there! I’m Sarah and I’ve got to be honest I’m super nervous and excited to be writing this as it is the first blogpost of any kind I have written. Performing and being an artist has impacted my life so much that I honestly do not know where I would be without it. I have been participating in shows at Brelby both on and off stage for just about a year now and I have loved every single minute of it. Okay maybe not EVERY minute but about 99.9% of them! 😉 I am currently a dance major at Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) and plan on pursing a future in the theatre world wherever that may take me! I’ve been involved in theatre for about 8 years now and it’s helped me through some pretty tough times in my life. I’ve also learned some valuable lessons and tips to help me succeed not only as a performing artist but as a person as well. I hope that sharing some lessons I’ve learned so far can help anyone in need of some artist tips and tricks. I also did not realize until about halfway through this I touch on a pretty hard event in my life but it is one that really helped shape me into who I am so, here we go!
- Treat others the way you want to be treated- Yes this seems like a simple one, but going into theatre I imagined it to be a very competitive world where anyone will do anything to get to the top. Yes, it is very competitive, but I never imagined that my closest and most supportive friends would be made through theatre. The reality is, the theatre community is such an uplifting one and has helped me through some really hard times. If you treat others poorly thinking it will get you ahead it will not. Be supportive and uplifting to others no matter what because we are our own worst critics and we tear ourselves down enough we do not need that from those we work with as well. This is also something that has helped me in other aspects of my life outside of being an artist.
- Be honest- with yourself, with others, and in your art. When I started performing I wanted to be a part of every performance and any opportunity that came my way. I said yes right away even if I was already doing a million other things. (I’m still working on saying no when something may not suit me or be the best thing for me at the moment). I learned I had to analyze how my life was going and if I was mentally, emotionally, and physically able to do it. Saying no has always been hard for me because I’ve wanted to be a people pleaser even if my best interest was not in mind. When it comes to being on stage I learned that it is okay for me to express if I am uncomfortable or if I feel that my safety, health, or mental health would be at risk by doing something. 99% of the time the director and other actors will respect that because they understand that a show is not just a one and done it is something you will be apart of for weeks or even longer. The last thing I want to say about this is to be true to your character, the most amazing part about being an artist is getting to tell someone else’s story. Tell their story to your best ability and tell it with an honest and open heart because that translates on stage and makes storytelling not just better but so much more fun!
- You don’t always have to step out of your comfort zone but always look for a way to expand it- going into theatre I was terrified to make big choices. Things that I was not comfortable with were hard for me to do and it held me back for a very long time to the point I almost stopped performing. I finally realized that I don’t always have to go completely out of my comfort zone and that being on stage wasn’t going to always feel so scary to me. I had to learn that by simply expanding it and taking something I’m comfortable with to another level helped me to eventually have a more vast comfort zone and that’s when performing got so much more fun for me.
- Use your nerves as energy!- I used to be terrified to go on stage to the point where I would almost be sick and my breath and body would be shaky. Until one day in high school someone looked at me and simply said “those are not nerves that’s your energy to get through this performance” and as soon as I started thinking that way I was less afraid to go on stage and more excited to. Which takes me to the next lesson I’ve learned
- Your mindset is everything- okay well it isn’t everything. Going into an audition thinking you’re going to do amazing and get a leading role or that you’re going to get a job or crush an interview won’t in itself get you the gig. But it can’t hurt. I used to go into every audition telling myself that I was not going to get it whether it was a small solo in my schools choir or going for a leading role at a theatre company. I did this so that I wouldn’t get my hopes up thinking I was the best and in the end, end up with nothing and be upset. But the first audition I walked into feeling confident and telling myself I was going to do great no matter what helped my audition tremendously! I also have done this for job interviews and it really comes across in how you carry yourself and how you speak about yourself in those situations.
- EMOTIONS!- they are a wonderful and sometimes messy thing, this being said it is okay to feel. Feel happy, sad, angry, sassy, neutral, whatever it is you feel it’s okay to feel that! Growing up I wasn’t the most popular kid in school and I had to deal with some bullying and feeling left out and that weighed hard on me. Moving to Arizona helped me kind of start over, yet I would still feel very alone and down. I thought that I had no reason to feel that way so I ignored most of my emotions and pushed them away and bottled them up until I couldn’t anymore. This had some very serious consequences. I ended up hospitalized twice during my sophomore year of high school, something that has always been hard to talk about but is a part of my life I shouldn’t ignore. I found out that I was dealing with manic depression. Not being able to cope with my highs and lows resulted in me finding other outlets to do so and none of which were healthy. Being an actor and starting off by identifying another person/characters emotions and getting portray them on stage was therapeutic for me. It helped me learn to do that in my everyday life and find a healthy outlet to cope with my emotional highs and lows. I learned that no emotion is bad, it’s what you decide to do with it that can have a positive or negative outcome to you and those around you.
- Don’t believe everything you hear- I thought that once I left high school petty drama and hurtful people would disappear and boy was I wrong! hurtful people are going to exist wherever you go and in a community that requires you to be vulnerable, dealing with toxic people is the worst. It can really take a toll on you and you can lose your trust in an instant. The most important thing to remember (and if I’ve learned anything from Once Upon A Time) good always wins. For every toxic person you come across there’s someone who has the kindest souls and you need to focus on those people and help them thrive. Also if you think that you may be a toxic person to someone take a step back and re evaluate because we are hard enough on ourselves as it is. We don’t need anyone else beating us down and we should not be the one beating someone else down.
- You never know what someone else is going through- this kind of ties in with number 7. You never truly know what someone else is dealing with and how that is effecting their life at the moment. No matter how your day has been or how you’re feeling you never quite know how everyone else is and it’s important to remember that because even just a smile or kind word or just minding your own business can make someone’s day better or at the very least, not make it any worse.
- Your best performance might never be in front of an audience- I learned this while in high school. Being in show choir and prepping for competition was always stressful and as much as we wish it was, our best run of the set was never in front of an audience. Our best run was on a random Tuesday where maybe some of us weren’t having the best day but we decided to focus and really put work in and it is such a magical moment. When taking this mindset into theatre I realized it was the same way maybe not the whole show run but there were rehearsals where a scene finally clicked and was just perfect in every way. It would never be the exact same for the rest of the run but that’s the magic of a live performance, each one is unique. I think this is important to keep in mind because as much as we would love for the best run of a show to be in front of an audience it probably won’t be, it’ll be on that random Tuesday where just the people in the room get to experience it and that’s really beautiful.
- 3 things- I learned this while attending the Open Jar Institute in NYC. No matter what it is whether it relates to your talent or what you’re auditioning, interviewing, applying, etc. for name 3 things you are good at or that you bring to the table. Once you have them that’s all that matters. No matter what happens in that audition, interview, callback, whatever it is, you still have those 3 things that make you…you and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. You come first before anyone or anything else you are you plain and simple. You will always be you and you are unique there is no one else like you in this world and that is AMAZING! so own it in everything you do because ultimately that is all that matters.
If you’ve made it this far thank you so much for reading. Being an artist has shaped so much of my life and has brought some seriously amazing people into my life. Thank you to everyone at Brelby who welcomed me with open arms being a part of this community is truly an honor!:)