On Courage: Bryn Mawr Sees Broadway’s ‘Waitress’

What is courage?

  • “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” -Mary Anne Radmacher
  • “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” -Harper Lee : To Kill a Mockingbird
  • “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” -Mark Twain

This past weekend, Bryn Mawr Activities took a group of students to see the Broadway musical Waitress. It is the first (and only) musical to be led by an all-women creative team, which is so important as the entertainment industry and others grow and further discussions on gender parity. Without giving away the plot, Waitress is an uplifting and fun show that centers around main character Jenna working up the courage to leave her abusive husband and start her own pie shop.

Cast of Waitress raises money at the end of the show for AIDS.

As shown by the quotes above, courage can mean many things to many people. For me, and I think many others, courage often means asking for help. When is it too soon to ask? When is it too late? Can it be seen as a sign of weakness?

Throughout the show, Jenna is supported and encouraged by her fellow waitresses and friends Dawn and Becky to leave her husband. I find courage through my friends as well: after all, teamwork makes the dream work. I wouldn’t have gotten through some of my classes had I not struggled, cried, and ultimately persevered through late nights in lab. I wouldn’t have organized events in high school or at previous internships if I hadn’t had friends to answer my questions on things like marketing, publicity, timing, food, and more.

Ultimately, however, courage comes from within. Jenna did not gain courage in the musical Waitress from her friends, family, or her doctor.

Jason Mraz as Jenna’s doctor in Waitress.

Exploring New York before seeing Waitress with Kennedy Ellison’19.

Courage is about taking risks, but also about having faith in yourself. What was Jenna afraid of? Her husband already beat and verbally abused her. At the very end, a lightbulb went off in her head, and she realized not just that she needed to leave him, but that she would do anything to do so.

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

― Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo

This quote really puts things in perspective for me, reminding me to face my fears instead of pushing them aside.

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