It seems only appropriate to start the company blog with an artistic director spiel about the magic of theatre. Of course, when trying to eloquently express those thoughts, I ended up staring at the computer screen for a long period of time, watching the cursor blink impatiently at me, as a haunting question jostled about my mind:
It’s a fair question. In a world of iPhones, film, TV, YouTube videos, and countless other newfangled forms of entertainment, theatre can be viewed as a fossilized art form. My pay-the-rent job is in Broadway ticket sales and after spending months selling tickets to primarily long-running musicals or anything starring a celebrity, it’s easy to become disillusioned by the future of American theatre.
So why? Why dedicate your life to theatre?
Mercifully, illumination arrived in the best possible way. I was lucky enough to see the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Uncle Vanya. Afterwards, when trying to express my opinions about the production to a friend, I found myself unable to articulate a coherent thought—I could only hold a hand over my heart, touched by the oh-it-hurts-so-good ache that pulsated there. It was kind of ache that could only resonate from actually being in the room, actually having the experiences happen before my eyes, actually hearing the voices echo in my ears, actually feeling more human, connected, and alive than I did two hours previously. Simply put, theatre makes you feel in an absolutely visceral way I have yet to experience with any other art form.
And I’m not the only one. I’m constantly amazed by the feeling of community that can arise among audience members in a theatre. If a stranger sits next to you in a movie theatre, you’re usually annoyed by their proximity. But If no one sits next to you in a theatre, something seems odd. Yes, I agree--the extra space is a nice bonus. But as I stretch out my legs and move my purse to the empty seat, I somehow feel lonely. And that’s because theatre is meant to be shared with everyone around you: whether it be the actors, the woman seventeen rows in front of you, or the constantly squirming man who hogs the armrest sitting right next to you (but if he unwraps a hard candy during a particularly intimate scene, steal that armrest right back from him. And give him a stern poke in the arm for good measure.)
So, why theatre? Two simple words: feeling and sharing. And yes, these may be kindergarden-based ideas, but if these ideas nourish and satiate your soul, then maybe we should incorporate more kindergarden lessons in our life pursuits.
I look forward to sharing my thoughts and theatre with all of you. Thanks for reading!