“Choosing to be in the theatre was a way to put my roots down somewhere with other people. It was a way to choose a new family.”
– Juliette Binoche
My next show, Life With Father, opens tomorrow night at Ashe Civic Center in West Jefferson, North Carolina. And, as usual, the end of this two-month-long process is bittersweet.
In theatre, when the show finally arrives, everyone involved is absolutely exhausted. If you’re not in theatre, you probably have no clue what goes into creating a show. There are so many people involved – sometimes twice as many people as you see on the stage are involved off the stage. Or sometimes even more. Each person has their “role” to play, so to speak. And each role is vital. My daughter has been involved with this show as a ‘techie’ and last night backstage at rehearsal, she said, “Wow. I think I’m learning that the people back here work even harder than the people out there.”
It’s definitely exhausting, that’s for sure.
But you know what else it is? Absolutely amazing.
I don’t even know how to describe it to you. There is just such a ‘bond’ that forms between people when they are working together to create a piece of art. Because that’s what we’re doing. Creating art. And in the process of creating this work of art, we become a family. Now, this particular piece of artwork may not be a sculpture or a painting, but it’s a work of art nonetheless. And the difference in our work of art from a sculpture or painting? Ours disappears. Yep. Just like that. All of our months of hard work and dedication just disappear on the last day of the run.
“We build statues out of snow, and weep to see them melt.” – Sir Walter Scott
So why do it? Why put all of your time and energy into something that’s just going to disappear on you?
Because there are some things that come from all that hard work that do not disappear.
As Oscar Wilde puts it, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” What more can I say than that? Maybe, just maybe, we might reach someone in that audience. If one person out there is able to see that something they’ve felt, said, dreamed, or imagined isn’t unique to them, then our job here is done. That’s what this human experience is all about to me. Just letting each other know that we’re not alone. That deep down, we’re all pretty close to being the same. And what better way to do that, than to get up on a stage and allow someone else’s life to play out before their eyes, and hope that something in what they see might mirror their own?
And on that same line of thinking – we also reach each other on the stage. We are surrounded by other actors, other tech workers, the director, etc., who are all doing exactly what we’re doing. All putting their heart and soul into creating something that means something to all of us. We develop trust, camaraderie, patience…and most importantly, love for each other. It’s a strange paradox – while pretending to be someone else, we manage to deeply get to know each other’s true selves. Funny how that happens. And this particular show is even about a family. The joys, stresses, daily routine, and ins and outs of family life.
While pretending to be a family, we end up becoming one.
So, if you’re local, come out and see what we’ve been working on for the past two months. (And hey – if you’re not local, come anyway. It’s worth the drive!) Without you, there’s not much point in us being up there on that stage. Come be a part of the show. Come be a part of our family.
See you there!
The following are some links to learn more about the show:
Life With Father article in the Jefferson Post: http://jeffersonpost.com/bookmark/22014480
My MTN interview with Jane Lonon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgkZoP_f7TU&feature=youtu.be
“I love acting. It’s so much more real than life.”
– Oscar Wilde