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Changing the World with Theater

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By Mia Apodaca ’20

This year, the school’s liturgical theme song is “Change the World” by Derek Minor. Each month, we gather as a community to unpack lyrics from this song and reflect on how we can help others. This is the first reflection in a four-part series that explores how Monarchs change the world through their involvement in these programs: Athletics, Campus Ministry, Performing Arts, and Student Activities. This week, we’re focusing on how taking the stage helps senior Mia Apodaca impact the world by changing the hearts of her audience.

I took a deep breath and walked across the stage, saying my lines with as much gusto as I could muster. The audience members gasped as they watched me exit the house, thinking I had married one of the main characters. Their reaction surprised me so much, I nearly tripped.  

It was a minuscule part of the show, Bright Star, but it made me realize we all change the world when we impact other people’s lives. To me, the overarching message of the show was quite clear: with love, we are never alone. Monarchs in the Performing Arts program change the world through productions like this, when we change the way people think about their lives.  

I’ve struggled with mental health for quite a few years and I often dealt with extreme loneliness and a sense of inadequacy. Realizing that my presence could have a profound impact on how others experience life was something completely new to me. For the first time, I recognized that I could actually make a difference.  

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through theater, it’s that there’s a place for everyone here. Archbishop Mitty’s theater department changes the world through storytelling in more ways than we usually get to see.  

Impacting others might not be as noticeable as that gasp was to me, but I know for a fact that many audience members experienced some sort of epiphany as they watched Bright Star. I invited many people from my church to the performance, and after the show, every single one of them told me how amazed they were by the message of the production. They told me how hearing the message of the story changed them and made them want to share this message of love with the larger community.  

My fellow cast members have expressed similar feelings of appreciation, as they reminisced on how much they loved being part of the show. Something my friend, junior Sophia Fijman, said about Bright Star really resonated with me. 

“The show re-emphasized the importance of family in my life — whether it’s biological or something we created,” she said. 

While I was lucky enough to find a family in the theater, audience members might find hope. They get to walk away, ready to change a world they thought they knew. Every AMHS performance can change people’s hearts in ways they cannot possibly imagine. Any show can lead to moments of self-discovery, which are opportunities to grow that must be taken and appreciated.  

I know for sure that is very powerful.