I took my daughter to buy character shoes today. Character shoes. Not clown shoes or school shoes, but character shoes--simple strapped pumps that could just as well be Sunday best shoes or career shoes, but are designed for the movement, dance, and look of musical theater. You'd think, by the name, that they are to fit a specific character. It turns out that they are just the opposite--designed for uniformity, not specificity. An item to be added to an ever-expanding bag of tricks for a theater artist.
As we pondered the black and the tan (and the caramel, a much softer
version of tan), and the lower heel and the higher heel, I thought a lot about "bags of tricks." Each of us, it
seems, whether we are in musical theater or any other field, starts
assembling a bag of tricks, whether those tricks are skills or costumes
or props. What we take out of the bag for any given "audition" may
differ, but if we don't at least attempt to assemble our "bag," we have
given up before we even start. If we fail to carry with us the tricks we
have acquired along the way, we are selling ourselves short at our next
stop. Our "character shoes," whatever they may be, help us go from step to step.
I am hopeful that the character shoes (ordered, so as to get just the
right fit in just the right color) will be just one in a series of items
and skills a that my daughter can add to her "bag." Because, in theater and in life, you never
know what you're gonna need to walk the walk. Or dance the dance.