My high school English teacher had the challenge of teaching us Shakespeare in a tangible way. Rather then just reading the script and answering the questions after each unit, we got to act it out and put it on film. Fortunately I had the same teacher for grades 11 and 12, so I got to do it twice!!! As a result, I can now say I played Romeo in high school! LOL!!!
When it got to grade 12, we decided to put the entire Much Ado About Nothing on film. It was AWESOME; we made costumes, got to help with set design, camera settings, lighting effects, sounds, fight choreography, and so on. The coolest thing was holding auditions for the parts we’d play in the film.
I landed the role of Leonato, the towns Mayor and father to Hero, who is engaged to Claudio. Since Leonato was an older man, I had to grow a beard to play the part. This made me the brunt of many jokes in the kitchen I was working in, but I was glad to do it. With no budget, we had to be creative in coming up with some cotumes, and improvise when it came to make up. I had the challenge of making my hair look grey. I decided to put white flower in my hair just before the camera rolled. Made for some interesting showers afterward lol! We even had a mock Oscar night where I won a plastic Oscar for best supporting actor =D put THAT on a resume =p
In lieu of all the fun, the director/teacher was hesitant to give me the part because of type casting. He didn’t want to give me the role because I had a wheelchair which helped create the “old man” look. Nonetheless, I landed the role and it ended up being great for more then just characterization. I won an award based on my acting… now if only I can get the REAL Oscar to notice me!
Fast forward to now… I’m out of college with a new vision or direction in life, completely different to what I expected: Encouraging people with disabilities. Finding this new direction wasn’t quick and easy like biscuit dough. It involved a lot of prayer and bible reading and seeking advice from friends. On numerous occasions people were encouraging I get involved in some sort of ministry with special needs people. Even though I am settling into the role as one who encourages those facing challenges, I can’t shake the wonder if God put me in this role as a form of type casting. That maybe I was given this task because of my disability and not because of my giftings talents and abilities. Is this all I will ever be? Ten years from now, is that all the church will see? Will I apply for pastoral positions in churches and get shot down “because I have a disability, I’d be a ‘better fit’ for working with a special needs ministry elsewhere”?
These are the questions thoughts and challenges I wrestle with while settling into my new role