This past Saturday, March 3rd, I sat in the studio stage theatre in awe of the incredible talent of seven young actors standing before me. The first Student Cabaret night exceeded everyone’s expectations. Having been with PGT for twelve years, I am used to seeing moving and professional work from kids ranging from ages seven to eighteen, and sometimes even working right along side them. That is nothing new. What was incredible for me was being able to sit six feet away from the stage and watch each one of their faces transform as each number began. It was as if everything that they were feeling in their hearts moved up and shone through their eyes, smiles, and voices. Each and every performer was as invested in those two or three minutes of song as I had ever seen them. They were each so powerful and so consumed with the message of their song. I sat there and started to think, how lucky are we, as students, that we get to come here every week and work so hard on something that we feel so passionately about, be it a show or song or scene, and then are given the opportunity to show that work to the people who love, and care about us the most? Wow. To answer my own question, we are the luckiest kids in the whole, wide world.
PGT’s students and staff can turn a night of song, into a night of community and a night of heart. The Cabaret showed the dedication, hard work, and love of creating art that PGT’s students all share. It is not talent that makes our students special (although they do have quite a bit of it), but their selflessness and commitment to bettering their own lives and the lives around them through theatre. Every performer gives 110% of their time and energy to the shows they participate in and to their fellow actors. I have often heard Jeff and Jill say that as we go on stage it is not important to just worry about supporting ourselves, but that we must support every other person on that stage. They ask us, “What is better, having one person watch your back? Or an entire cast out there to watch it for you?”. These lessons that we learn for the stage have been transferred to our lives as young adults. On Saturday, the performers on stage were not only giving each other all of their support, but were caring for the audience as well. They each took us on a journey with them, making us laugh, cry, feel, and reflect. There was a bond created in that room between performer and audience that I had never felt before. As each song ended, and the ovations began, our claps were not just congratulatory ones, but a thank you to each performer for sharing their hearts with us. In return, the audience could see the gratefulness that each performer had for the audience, and the opportunity given to them to share what was in their hearts.
Again, I will ask, how lucky are we?
At the end of the night, I looked from face to face to face down the line of beaming, beautiful actors and was able to realize the true extent of the gift that PGT has given to each of their participants. Jill is always speaking of magic, last Saturday I felt that magic pulsate through my bones. The art that was created in that theatre will leave an everlasting impression on me. As an actor I will strive to care for my fellow actors and audience members as Lily, Sarah, Jimmy, Aiden, Aviva, Sophie, and Hannah did for us. And as an audience member I will long for the moment when an actor can reach me the way that those seven did. I am a senior this year, and even though this season may mark the end of my journey at PGT, thanks to the generosity and care of everyone involved with PGT, I have been instilled with the magic that will keep me connected to this place for eternity.