May 29, 2020

Sarah El Shazly, How the Theatre Taught Me to Love Unapologetically

EGYPT – My name is Sarah El Shazly and I have been practicing Theatre in all its forms for the past 4 years. If one is to ask me in what ways the Theatre has impacted my life, I would embark on an endless rant. But in all the privileges the Theatre has blessed me with, I cherish a single precious lesson until the end of my days; and that is how to love.

Life Lessons in Theatre

I’ve lived the past 4 years jumping from one role to the other, from one play to the other; investing my whole being into another character, building friendships from scratch, dealing with a different cast and a different director with every production. And even though I have been part of this ephemeral process, I have learnt to give my all with every short-lived production.

The Theatre is a transient and fleeting experience, both in art form and practice. You go into a show knowing that a few months from now it will end. Nevertheless, you throw yourself into it headfirst, knowing that every second is worth it. The character you are studying, building, and living will cease to exist on the last night of performance.

Being part of this cyclically impermanent process has been some sort of practice; I have learnt and gotten used to the reality of everything coming to an end. This is, of course, a very unfortunate and pessimistic truth of nature, but still, a truth. And it is us who determine how to approach this truth and how to deal with it in the healthiest way possible. I have been fortunate enough to have the Theatre as my guidance.

Sarah EL Shazly on Stage

Experience, Love & Letting Go

And so, I have learnt to love passionately and unapologetically knowing that this love may or may not one day reach its end. I have learnt that once I commit myself to something or someone, I have to give my all, or nothing. On stage, I give my best performance, I allow all my emotions to surface so that I am giving a naked and honest presentation to the audience.

In parallel, in my partnership, I allow myself and him complete transparency; I hand him all what’s inside me, I give him my best. Knowing that every relationship has a fifty-fifty percent chance of survival. Knowing that every show has a zero percent chance of survival. Even if it doesn’t survive in the physical, it will always remain in memory. The greatest performers of all time have left a mark etched in the memories of audiences. The greatest love of your whole life will always be etched in your memory.

And with every fleeting love and friendship, the Theatre has taught me to let go. While you have an obligation to hold on to these characters, at the end of the production, you have an equal obligation to let go of them.

You have to move on to another show, another character, and start building their whole life from scratch once again. And you continue to live on, loving and leaving, with all the passion in you, you give them your all, without a single feeling of regret.

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Sarah El Shazly, How the Theatre Taught Me to Love Unapologetically

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