I’ve been involved with the Bar Ilan Acting Society for just over a year, now. I’m in the middle of my third consecutive play with them, and if my involvement stops at this play’s cast party, it will come as a surprise to many people, not least of which myself.
I don’t think, if it was theoretically possible to quantify my net affect on BIAS, that I should be the one to make that caculation. The combination of my affinity for hyperbole and my relative modesty means that whatever I come up with will make me uncomfortable. Let’s just say that, at the very least, BIAS’s ability to achieve several of its goals has been made easier over the last year by my presence. I don’t think that’s overreaching.
However, regardless of what I may have given to BIAS, I know I’ve gotten more in return. And it’s not just the straightforward things. Yes, I get a sense of accomplishment from, well, accomplishing things. And yes, the inclusion of each person I have met through BIAS into my life has made said life that much richer*. And I don’t think it’s possible to state emphatically enough how much I enjoy being the center of attention in the way that only theatrical performance can achieve.
But there are more subtle benefits, and it’s those that are really important. Like Sunday, for example. I woke up in the morning with no will to get out of bed. I had no motivation to go to the office, I could not see why I should pull on my uniform shirt or pants, I balked at figuring out which of my clean socks had the smallest holes in them, and the very existence of my army boots seemed to cause me physical pain.
But I did all of that, and I did get to the office, and then my day was more depressing than I would have expected.
But when 5:30 came around, I got on a bus and made my way to Bar Ilan University, I found my way to the place where we do rehearsals, and I gave an adequate performance. I probably goofed off a bit more than I should have, and I probably should have known more of my lines than I did, but we got through the scene we wanted to practice three times, plus the first half one extra time.
And then I went home, fell asleep, and woke up the next day. And I still didn’t want to get out of bed, deal with my uniform, acknowledge my boots’ existence, or any of the stuff that I had to do. But I did have the motivation to do those things. And that difference, the difference between “doing this eats at my soul” and “doing this is unpleasant,” that net change is entirely attributable to my having been in rehearsal.
So thank you, BIAS. Thank you for the concrete and the vague, the blatant and the subtle. Thank you for the people I’ve met, the plays I’ve helped to put on, and the reasons to be out of my apartment.
But mostly, thank you for existing. Because sometimes existence is underrated.
(*”That much” being a value roughly equal to the GDP of a mid-sized oil-producing state)