Lights Camera English!

Take 45: 1968

I have always wanted to be an actress. (I may have mentioned that before.) It has been my dream since I was a girl. I did my first play when I was nine years old and I haven’t looked back.

And I’ve played all sorts of women; queens, witches, lovers, mothers, criminals, nurses, and heroines. I absolutely love playing strong women who do extraordinary things.

And tomorrow night, I will be playing a dream role at a dream location. I will step onto the Summer Shakespeare Festival stage at the stunning Prague Castle as Isabella in Measure for Measure.

(Nervous? Definitely. Excited? Beyond words.)

It is such a privilege to live your dream. But no one gets to do it without a lot of hard work, stubbornness, passion, and sacrifice. You have to go against the tide. You have to ignore naysayers and those who don’t want you to succeed. You have to trust yourself even when you feel like a failure. And you have to push past your own fear, doubts, and limiting beliefs. Only once this becomes habit, does life consider you worthy of living your dream.

I was so inspired by Lenka’s story about her mum. She had a dream. And she followed it. She worked hard, believed in herself, and made it happen. Even though things were tough, she became a teacher in a world that wanted to hold her back. A true story of success against the odds.

Then, one historical day, she woke up in a new world with new rules: forget your values to live your dream, or live your values and lose the dream.

This is something I cannot imagine being asked to consider and I am so lucky that I have never been placed in such a position. To live my dream, I just had to obey the rules of dream-livers. If someone then stormed into my life and demanded that I sign away my values to continue being an actress, I really don’t know what I would do. Acting is my very breath. It’s in my soul.

I shamefully imagine that I would be just another one of those who signed on the dotted line to stay in my daydream and ignore the nightmare.

But Lenka’s mum was much stronger than that. She gave up her dream for the greater good. For the good of people who’ll never know her name or what she did. She gave up her dream for what is right.

Now that’s the kind of strong woman I can only dream of playing some day.

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