When I was young, I was impatient. Well, I still am, but I’ve gotten better at controlling it. That impatience would manifest itself in irritability, in “knowing” I was better or smarter than someone else, when that someone else would get the job or role I really wanted. (I’ve mentioned here before that I started college as a Theatre major.)
After I started working full time in Data Processing, I started doing shows in community theatre, either playing trombone in the pit orchestra or playing minor characters in the show, or being in the chorus. I knew I could do bigger parts, and it frustrated me, and my impatience would be on display for everyone. And it prevented me from getting the parts I wanted in other shows.
Then I got that break. I got the role I wanted, the role of Will Parker in Oklahoma! at the Olde Towne Hall Theatre in North Ridgeville, Ohio. Now, for those of you who don’t know, Will is a lovable character. Everybody loves Will!
In preparing for the role, I took on the character as my own. I was as friendly and open to everyone as Will is, and, to my surprise, people really liked me! I didn’t show my usual impatience because I had the role I wanted, and that role taught me so much about dealing with people. Life actually got better because I took on this character as part of my personality.
Now, when I struggle with my dealings with people, I try to remember to “Be Will Parker.” It’s not easy, and sometimes it doesn’t work, but for the most part it does.
I’ve found that in general I really like people, and gosh darn it, they like me back! And it’s all because of a character I played almost 40 years ago.
So thank you to all of you that I have met, and who’ve made my life the wonderful blessing it’s become, and to Bruce Lanning, who took that chance on me and cast me as Will.