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"The Voice"

Thirteen-year-old Audrey recently auditioned for our three-week, musical parody summer camp, “Retune of the Jedi.” ComedySportz® Richmond has produced a number of original parodies based on popular movies for adults and by adults, but this is the first year we will be producing a musical parody performed by kids. And, as great as that is, this post is not about us. This post is about Audrey’s audition.

Audrey confidently jumped on stage, introduced herself, and told us she would be singing “You’ll Be Back” from “Hamilton”. Her voice was strong and solid. The production team was delighted to see her energy and infectious smile as she continued her song. Towards the end of the song, she lept off stage and started skipping around the room while singing the last la, la, la, las. Her presentation was bold, impressive, and joyful.

Ah, well, that’s lovely, right? But, what’s the point of this post? Lots of kids do a great job at auditions. Why write about this one audition and this one child?

Audrey started taking improv classes at CSz with her younger sister a few years ago. Her sister knew no bounds in performing. She jumped in with plenty of moxie and without reservation. Audrey, however, was timid, and she questioned everything she would say and every move she made. As her teacher, I could see her internal discussion with the voice in her head. Week after week, Audrey would give in to the voice, thinking her first choices weren’t good enough. Yet I knew she could break through and could see how much talent she had. It’s that sixth sense we teachers develop over years. If you’re a teacher, I suspect you know what I mean.

One day, I became frustrated with the battle I was having with the voice in Audrey’s head. The voice was challenging my lessons and belief in this child. It was as if I could hear her voice in my head! I had to stop the class.

“Audrey, I have some words to say to the voice in your head. I’m going to speak harshly to the voice. Please know that my tone is not directed to you.” “Voice! Leave my class! Get out of Audrey’s head and stop telling her she’s not good enough. That her choices stink and that she’s not doing it right! I’m her teacher. NOT YOU! You can just leave. You are not needed. Her choice is RIGHT AS RAIN! SHE IS RIGHT AS RAIN! LEAVE!”

Then I apologized to Audrey and expressed my hope that I hadn’t scared her. She blinked, and told me it was okay.

For three years, Audrey has been a member of our Middle School League. I am not the teacher of that league, but have heard that she’s been fearlessly charging up that improv hill.

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