“It is my belief that the best things happen right before the thread snaps.” – Geoffrey Tennant in “Oliver’s Dream,” Slings and Arrows Season 1
I’ve always tried to lead my life by the above quotation, in some way or another, since I heard it. In its original context, it more or less means that people can do incredible things when they are hanging on by a thread; in other words, when they’re facing adversity. In every way, my life experience has taught me that this is true. However over the last week, these words have shown me another meaning that is just as powerful and has just as much influence over my life.
If you’ve read this blog much (or at all), then you and I are probably friends. If we are friends, then you know what’s happened in my life over the past five days. Usually this blog is a place of whimsy, whether it’s Wrestling Fanfiction, lists about animated characters, or musings on Buffy‘s weirdest episode. And it will continue to offer that periodically (probably more now that I’m not doing much), but for right now all I want to do is say goodbye to an institution and a group of people who meant the world to me.
On January 8th 2014, the Ottawa Theatre School (OTS) shut down its Conservatory program – the very program I was attending – due to financial difficulties. I have not reacted to this news in any fashion other than immediately packing up my entire life (DVDs and books mostly) and calling my parents to make arrangements to come back to the East Coast. Hopefully this post helps me come to terms with what’s happened, because so far it’s been such a big, unapproachable subject.
Like the quotation says, the best things happen before the thread snaps. If the school’s closure is the snapping of the thread, then what came before it is definitely the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I came from a small school in a small town, so the setting of a large city and the theatre community within it were a major positive influence on my development as an actor and as a human being. The friends I have made aren’t even really friends, they are family. That sounds cliche and tired, but its the truth. In practical terms, I spent AT LEAST 28 hours per week with these people (it always ended up to be more because we would hang out all the time outside of class, given the chance) and the thought that I won’t see any of them again in that setting is absolutely breaking my heart. I’m going to miss everyone terribly.
Luckily, when a door closes, windows open. The theatre community in Ottawa has proven to be absolutely, thrillingly supportive. I feel terrible that I’m leaving and won’t be able to take advantage of their amazing hospitality and goodwill, but I know that with their help, everyone is going to land on their feet as best they can. Because when you’re a family, a community, that’s what you do for each other, you pick each other up when they fall down.
The teachers we had at OTS were some of the best, most talented people I have ever met. I learned how to be tall (I actually GREW, how crazy is that?), I learned how to warm up my voice, I learned how to sing like a champ, and most important of all, I learned how to wave goodbye.
Keep your heads up guys, we’re gonna be fine.
RIP OTS 2003-2013