Theatrical Reminiscences and Meanderings

24 Nov

Recently, while speaking to an acquaintance, I learned that he had never been to a play. That day was his 31st birthday and he was going to see his first play that evening. This kind of blew my mind because I have been attending theatrical productions as long as I can remember. My first “job” was working technical positions for the local amateur theatre company.

lower the houselights, the show is about to begin

lower the houselights, the show is about to begin

In fact, one of the first movies I remember marathoning was a play. A musical, actually- Pirates of Penzance with Kevin Kline and Angela Lansbury.

The Pirate King is still one of my favorite musical characters

The Pirate King is still one of my favorite musical characters

To this day I still love going to the theater. Sitting in the dark audience and watching a story come alive on the stage. Whether it’s a small production of one or two actors or something grand, with an orchestra… it doesn’t matter. It’s still magical.

I will admit that I often sit and try to figure out the lighting and how the set changes- too many years as a tech- but it doesn’t take away from what I’m seeing.

558824_10201421560554651_2009988271_nThe last show I attended, Kirsten Vangsness’ “MESS”, is still with me. I find myself thinking about how something today is connected to something in my childhood and in my future- its quantum objects and sciencey philosophy… I can’t explain it better than that. But it stuck with me.

“Miss Saigon”, which I originally saw in London in 1995 still makes me stop and listen to its powerful music and lyrics every time it plays on my broadway station. Every time. I can picture Kim’s last moments as she makes a choice…

And a short one-act I saw a few years ago during The Blank’s Young Playwright Festival about knowing your dying but living everyday to the fullest instead resonates every time I think about putting off something I really want to do. “I can wait to do it”, while this is true, I don’t live my life knowing that I only have a short time left… I need to take advantage of that freedom and just live. That was the message I took from that play. I had chosen that night of the festival because I wanted to see the parody of “Spiderman Turn Off the Dark” and ended up leaving with a poignant message about life.

That’s what theatre is. Magic and stories and life and laughter and tears… and science.

I hope he enjoys the play; I’ll have to remember to ask him next time I see him. Hope it inspires him to see more. It’s living art, after all.

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