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.
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.
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.
The 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.