Guest Blogger: Emma Young (Maxine)

Just so you know, not only are the Helen kids good singers, actors and dancers, they are also great writers, talented artists and humorists, and really beautiful people.  Point in case--just check out Emma's guest blog entry for today...



I sit outside of the studio, staring at the professional, high-quality headshots and the resumés listing countless productions and training that must have begun years before I set foot on a stage.  And from my nervous perch on a wicker chair I can hear the inhuman vocals that are loud enough to resound beyond a soundproof door without being pushed.  These kids are naturals, these kids have been on thousands of auditions, these kids have performed on Broadway stages, and these kids are completely confident in their abilities.

And through my anxious light-headed haze a familiar thought emerges, one that has forever been a shallow comfort and a guilty indulgence.  "She's not that good."  Which you know is a lie, and yet which you feed to yourself because it's so much easier and comforting to think.  Because in this business (of which I know very little by comparison), there is the crushing pressure of competition.  Because for every hundred people out there, convinced that they want it the most, that they've tried the hardest, that they are the most suited for the part, only one person can get it.  And the statistics thrown at you over acting careers are enough to make you physically nauseous and force you into considering life in an alleyway with only the shelter of a cardboard box.

This overwhelming competition can embitter you, force you into resentment, push you into finding faults that aren't there, and ultimately terrify you, to the point where you take that step into the first rehearsal and wonder: will I ever be comfortable around these people?

But after months these fears have fallen away.  I never expected to work with people who had so much experience and yet so little judgment.  People who are grounded and kind and willing to make friends.  People who, despite my lack of experience, have always accepted me and been patient and taught me.  People who have never made me feel bad about how little I've done but rather have pushed me to be as good as them and shown me how far I could go.  People whom I've come to care about so much that, while Meredith is singing "The Journey is the Destination", and I look around at everyone so comfortably in their element, I sappily tear up and hope that no one will notice.  Because let's face it, I've cried enough in these rehearsals, whether it be from laughter, happiness, or how touching the finale is.