I Love The Theatre!
The crowd is abuzz with activity. People are filing into their seats and settling down. The lights flash then dim. A silence washes over the space. The spotlight comes on. Music starts or an actor walks on stage. You are taken to another world, the plains of South Africa in The Lion King, the factory floor in Kinky Boots, the castle in Macbeth…the world of the theatre can transport you in so many ways and can make you see things you have never seen before and may never see…the world of the theatre can be powerful, mesmerizing, hilarious. It is an art form that astounds me every time I see a production, no matter the size, the storyline, the acting. I feel astonishment about the whole effort.
The first play I ever saw was Cats. It was probably around the mid 80s and I was beside myself with excitement. I don’t remember much about the actual musical but what I do remember is how I felt. I was completely overcome by the world that was created. For many years after that, when I would attend a play, I would become teary-eyed as the lights dimmed, feeling the same emotions and the same amazement at the worlds that were being created right in front of our eyes.
The first time I saw the Lion King was with a close group of friends. We had bought our tickets almost a year in advance – there weresix (6) of us who were supposed to be attending. About nine (9) months before we were scheduled to see the play, one of thesix (6) of us passed away. No one had the play on their mind, of course. We were just trying to get through losing our friend. Days and then months passed and we got closer to the date. Finally, the time had arrived. As we sat and heard Rafiki call the animals to Pride Rock and the cast began to sing The Circle of Life, my heart swelled and my tears flowed freely. We had experienced the circle of life in our own way. I have seen The Lion King five (5) times and each and every time since the first, I feel the emotions as strongly as I felt them that evening.
Some plays are beautifully written and wonderfully performed. 12 Angry Men is a play about a jury deliberating on a verdict. The premise may not sound like much but the writing is so smart and thoughtful, it makes you question your own belief systems and the biases you may hold without even realizing that you hold them.
Seeing West Side Story at the Stratford Festival a few years ago was a revelation! The production was exuberant. When the cast sang one of the signature songs, “America”, you could not help but be completely mesmerized by their performance from their electrifying clapping through the song to the razor sharp sounds of their shoes pounding on the stage as they sang.
We are all attracted to different art forms. For some, it is music; for others, it might be dance or design. For me, it has always been the theatre for many reasons like its poignancy like with my Lion King experience or its hilarity with plays like The Book of Mormon. Theatre has transported and transformed me. I hope that there is an art form out there that does the same for you.
Go check out a play today!