10 Things Theater Kids Do Better Than Anyone

Performing arts degrees get a lot of flack for being inapplicable in the 'real world,' especially in these tough economic times. While high school drama kids may have enjoyed a brief flash of glory during the first season of Glee (between when it started and when it started sucking), overall, our Shakespearean quotes and awesome purple beatnik hats (Ok, yes, now I’m describing Judy Funnie) have dropped us into the nerd category. However, I've been out in this so-called real world for a couple of years, and I'm prepared to defend the usefulness of the drama kid. Here are 10 things theater kids just plain do better.

1. Collaborate

From passing the clap (ahem) to putting on a show, theater kids are used to being in big groups of loud, crazy people with lots of ideas, and are accustomed to and working together to make magic — or, at least, make the best of things. The show must go on.

This translates well into work environments. We know how to get along with people in high-stress situations, if only until the project is done.

2. Information Recall

Once someone has cram-memorized 10 pages of antiquated dialogue overnight, they can remember almost anything. And once they’ve made a habit of it, they start remembering things unintentionally, too. Things like all Barenaked Ladies and Counting Crows lyrics, the entire script of When Harry Met Sally and Anchorman, the New York City subway map, and phone numbers for Canadian cab companies (here's two: 1-902-425-6666 and 1-902-429-6666). This is great when someone needs information quickly, if occasionally creepy. If you're an actor, you probably remember everything.

3. Cry on Cue

Surprisingly useful.

4. Make New Friends

For people who do theater, each show offers a new set of people and new interpersonal dynamics. As a result, theater kids are really good at meeting people, whether they're networking, meeting clients, or meeting a boyfriend's family.

 

5. Wait Patiently

Most of acting is showing up and waiting. We theater people may not like doing so, but we’re really, really good at it. It’s rare you meet a theater kid who doesn't have a book or a portable hobby on their person. The ability to kill time and wait without getting frustrated is a blessing in this life of traffic, grocery lines, and delayed conference calls.

6. Keep Things Interesting

There’s never a dull moment in the theater. In addition to being able to entertain themselves, theater kids are also good at keeping others amused. It is a performing art, after all.

7. Hold Their Breath

While, career-wise, this is only really useful if you’re a diving instructor, all those breathing exercises are great when you accidentally get into the stink car on the subway.

8. Get The Waiter's Attention

They probably know him. 

9. Styling and Makeup

Actors do a lot of makeup. They've made themselves look like everything from a Cockney hooker to a Cockney grandmother. If you need a little help getting ready for an event, your actor friends would probably love to lend a hand.

 

10. Break Down a Year

Things in a year: 525,600 minutes. Daylights. Sunsets. Midnights. Cups of coffee. Inches. Miles. Laughter. Strife.

Oh, like you don’t know all the words.

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Emily Duncan

Emily Duncan is a Canadian born, New York based writer and comedian. She graduated from New York University with a B.F.A. and has since held a variety of jobs in the arts. Emily has written and performed sketch comedy at UCBNY, the PIT, the Montreal Sketch Comedy Festival, and a variety of other places along the east coast. Her short plays have been produced in NYC, California and Canada and she has worked in theater, film and television production. Upcoming projects include the short film "Are You Afraid of the '90s?" by Kate Moran, starring Kristine Sutherland and Heather Matarazzo: http://www.that90smovie.com And performing her own piece, "On Not Dying", at SWAN Day Boston: https://www.facebook.com/SWANDayBoston2014BPT

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